Skip to main content

Full text of "A week in the Isles of Scilly"

See other formats

Ex  I.ibris 

(      K.  0(.D1   \ 

•<.HS8E  IN 



Vos  et  Scyllseam  rabiem,   penitusque   sonantes 
Accttetis   scopulos :  vos  et  Cyclopia  saxa 
Expert! :  revocate  animos,  mcestumque  timorem 
Mittite :    forsan  et  haec  olira  meminisse  juvabit. 

I.   W.    NORTH,    M.A. 



LONDON  :     LONGMAN    AND    Co. 


THB  character  of  the  book,  here  submitted  to  the  reader,  has  been  somewhat 
altered  by  circumstances  which  have  occurred  since  its  publication  was  first 
contemplated  j  since,  indeed,  the  former  part  of  the  work  was  in  print.  It 
was  originally  intended  to  be  nothing  more  than  a  guide-book  for  tourists  and 
visiters,  directing  them  to  the  chief  objects  of  interest  in  the  Isles  of  Scilly. 
The  earlier  excursions  furnish  evidence  that  this  was  my  first  design.  But 
this  intention  was  changed  by  the  unexpected  offer  of  some  valuable  contri- 
butions on  the  Natural  History  of  the  Isles,  and  by  fear  on  my  part  that  the 
account  given  of  the  islands  would  be  thought  dry  and  unattractive.  I  was, 
therefore,  led  to  consult  the  works  of  others,  with  the  object  of  enriching  my 
pages  from  the  materials  collected  by  men  of  research  and  eminence. 

The  paragraph  quoted  by  Borlase  from  Leland's  Itinerary  in  page  124, 
may  be  found  in  the  fourth  volume  of  Davies  Gilbert's  History  of  Cornwall, 
page  266.  The  other  notices  of  '  Scylley'  are  highly  curious ;  but  it  scarcely 
fell  within  the  compass  of  this  work  to  make  any  further  quotations  from 
this  ancient  writer. 

From  Carew's  Survey  of  Cornwall,  first  published  in  1602,  much  cannot 
be  gathered  of  the  History  of  these  Isles.  Carew,  indeed,  professes  not  to 
include  them  in  his  work;  but  he  briefly  adverts  to  the  fabled  land,  the 
Lionesse,  said  to  have  formerly  united  the  Isles  with  the  main  land. 
"  Lastly"  he  observes,  speaking  of  the  changes  which  the  County  of  Cornwall 
has  undergone,  "  the  encroaching  sea  hath  ravined  from  it  the  whole  country 
of  Lioness,  together  witli  divers  other  parcels  of  no  little  circuit ;  and  that 
such  a  Lioness  there  was,  these  proofs  are  yet  remaining.  The  space  between 
the  Land's  End  and  the  Isles  of  Scilly,  being  about  thirty  miles,  to  this  day 


retaineth  that  name,  in  Cornish  Lcthowsow,  and  carrieth  continually  an  equal 
depth  of  forty  or  sixty  fathom  (a  thing  not  usual  in  the  sea's  proper  dominion) 
save  that  about  the  midway  there  lieth  a  rock,  which  at  low  water  discovereth 
bis  head.  They  term  it  the  Gulf,  suiting  thereby  the  other  name  of  Scilla."* 
He  mentions  also  the  Garrison  as  "a  fort  at  Scilly,  reduced  to  a  more 
defensible  plight  by  her  Majesty's  order,  and  governed  by  the  foreremembered 
Sir  Francis  Godolphin,  who  with  his  invention  and  purse,  bettered  his  plot 
and  allowance ;  and  therein  hath  so  tempered  strength  with  delight,  and  both 
with  use,  as  it  serveth  for  a  sure  hold,  and  a  commodious  dwelling. "f  One 
other  reference  to  the  Isles  I  have  found  in  the  Survey,  which  is  of  import- 
ance, as  showing  at  how  early  a  period  they  were  regarded  as  an  object  of 
ambition,  even  by  crowned  heads.  "At  Saint  Buriens,"  Carew  writes,  "  a 
parish  of  great  circuit,  King  Athelstane  accomplished  his  vow,  in  founding 
a  college  of  priests,  what  time  he  had  conquered  the  Sillane  Islands."  $ 

From  Borlase  I  have  made  several  extracts.  It  seemed,  upon  reflection, 
wrong  to  leave  unnoticed  the  legends  of  Druidical  remains,  said  to  be  existing 
on  the  Isles.  In  directing  attention  to  some  of  the  principal  rocks  I  could 
not  but  observe  that  they  have  been  regarded  as  objects  of  superstition.  And 
this  remark  almost  naturally  drew  me  to  the  pages  of  the  Antiquarian.  I 
have  quoted  freely  both  from  the  Antiquities  of  Cornwall,  and  from  Borlase's 
Letter  to  the  Dean  of  Exeter. 

It  will  be  seen  that  I  have,  inadvertently  I  confess,  transcribed  from  the 
pages  both  of  Drew  and  of  Davies  Gilbert  an  account  of  the  disaster  which 
befel  Sir  Cloudesley  Shovel.  The  former  gives  the  whole  story  at  length ; 
the  latter  throws  discredit  upon  it.  The  reader  will  be  enabled  to  compare 
the  opinions  of  the  two,  and  to  form  his  own  upon  the  subject. 

From  Troutbeck  and  Woodley  I  have  not  hesitated  to  take  whatever 
appeared  to  be  of  value. 

To  Lady  Sophia  Tower  I  beg  to  tender  my  grateful  acknowledgements  for 
her  tasteful  embellishment  of  my  book.  The  kindness,  which  she  has  shewn 
in  preparing  her  beautiful  drawings  for  the  Lithographer,  has  laid  me  under 
great  obligations. 

For  myself  I  must  take  leave  to  express  unaffected  regret  that  the  part 
which  I  have  had  in  the  work,  is  unworthy  of  the  Papers,  which  have  been 
put  into  my  hands,  and  the  assistance  so  kindly  given.  Unexpected  facilities 
have  been  afforded  for  making  my  account  of  these  interesting  Isles  both 
'•••••'.rat-  and  full ;  and  I  embrace  this  opportunity  of  expressing  my  obliga- 
:ions  and  offi-ring  my  thanks  to  those  gentlemen  whose  careful  and  exact 
information  give  a  substantial  value  to  the  following  pages. 

•  pp.  6,  7.  t  p.  21.-,.  J  p   386. 

The  visits  paid  to  the  Isles  by  Mr.  Carne,  Dr.  Cams,  and  Mr.  Cooke, 
were  exceedingly  opportune  for  the  completion  of  my  work.  The  valuable 
contribution,  which  closes  the  book,  has  been  very  kindly  furnished  by  the 
former  of  these  gentlemen,  who  bears  strong  testimony  to  the  sanative  virtues 
of  the  Islands. 

Dr.  Carus  was  induced  to  take  up  his  residence  amongst  us  with  a  view  to 
obtaining  specimens  for  the  Anatomical  collection  in  Oxford,  under  the 
direction  of  Dr.  Acland,  who  is  Lee's  Reader  in  Anatomy  at  that  Univer- 
sity. Dr.  Acland  chose  the  Isles  as  the  seat  of  the  first  embassy  from 
the  Anatomical  Museum,  because  this  locality  had  not  been  previously 
explored  ;  and  because  the  Geographical  position  of  these  Islands,  at  the 
entrance,  as  it  were,  of  three  seas,  the  Bristol,  the  Irish,  and  the  English 
channels,  together  with  their  proximity  to  the  current  called  Kennel's, 
awakened  in  him  a  hope  that  some  curious  and  interesting  results  might 
be  hence  obtained. 

Mr.  Cooke  came,  as  it  were,  accidentally,  for  the  sake  of  seeing  the  Isles 
and  examining  their  botanical  features. 

The  height  of  the  prominent  objects  in  the  scenery  has  been  supplied  by 
Serjeant  Steel,  who  in  the  summer  of  this  year  was  stationed  in  the  Isles,  in 
command  of  a  detachment  of  the  Royal  Sappers  and  Miners,  for  the  purpose 
of  measuring  a  degree  of  longitude  from  the  most  Southern  point  of  England 
to  the  Isle  of  Rona,  the  most  Northern  of  the  British  Isles  in  this  meridian. 

These  several  heights  were  determined  by  observing  the  angles  of  elevation 
and  depression  from  the  Balcony  of  the  Light-house  on  St.  Agnes.  The 
precise  height  of  the  Balcony  above  mean  water  was  found,  by  levelling  from 
the  North  side  of  Priglis,  to  be  one  hundred  and  forty  five  feet.  The  distances 
used  in  the  computations  were  taken  from  Spence's  chart,  published  in  1810; 
and  one  fourteenth  of  the  contained  arc  has  been  allowed  for  refraction. 

I  did  not  receive  the  information,  which  Serjeant  Steel  very  readily  gave, 
until  the  work  had  made  some  progress.  I  was,  therefore,  under  the  necessity 
of  omitting  some  of  the  measurements  which  were  thus  furnished  for  my  use 
or  of  inserting  them  in  the  Supplemental  Chapter.  The  latter  plan  I  have 

I  have  adhered  in  great  measure  to  the  plan  expressed  in  the  Title, 
which  I  had  long  ago  fixed  upon  as  most  suitable  to  my  work.  Nor 
would  I  allow  myself  to  deviate  so  far  from  my  first  purpose  as  to  enter 
into  any  lengthened  discussion  upon  irrelevant  questions ;  such  as  the  origin 
or  probable  meaning  of  names,  &c.  I  ought,  perhaps,  to  have  fortified  the 
opinion  which  I  have  given  as  to  the  origin  of  the  word  "  Scilly"  by  referring 
to  Davies  Gilbert,  who  speaks  of  the  Isles  as  deriving  their  name  "  probably 


from  the  abundance  of  eel  or  conger  fishes  taken  there,   called  Sillys  or 

Some  persons  will,  I  dare  say,  be  of  opinion  that  I  have  entered  too  much 
into  detail.  It  may  be  so.  My  intention,  however,  will  not  be  blamed.  I 
wished,  as  far  as  possible,  to  answer  every  question  which  it  was  likely  that 
a  vi>iti-r  would  propose;  and,  if  I  am  too  minute,  the  error  is,  I  believe,  on 
the  right  side.  This  desire  has  obliged  me  to  crowd  into  the  Excursion  of 
each  day  more  than  can  be  conveniently  accomplished  in  so  short  a  space  of 
time ;  and  will,  I  hope,  be  deemed  sufficient  apology  for  the  length  of  the 
preface  and  for  the  supplemental  chapter. 

Some  delay  has  been  occasioned  in  bringing  out  the  book  by  my  inability 
to  hold  personal  communications  with  the  Printers  and  Publishers.  It  will 
be  readily  acknowledged  that  there  is  much  disadvantage  both  to  myself 
and  the  Publishers  in  being  so  far  apart  from  each  other ;  or  rather  in  having 
a  difficult  sea  rolling  between  us.  This  will,  I  trust,  be  admitted  as  some- 
what of  an  excuse  for  the  Errata,  which  I  am  compelled  to  insert.  It  is 
material  to  correct  the  statement  made  in  the  fifth  page,  by  observing  that  a 
second  vessel,  the  "Ariadne,"  now  sails  between  the  Isles  and  Penzance.  The 
"Ariadne"  sails  from  the  Isles  on  Monday  and  from  Penzauce  on  Friday  in 
each  week. 

As  there  is  a  propriety  and  significance  in  the  names  given  to  places  and 
objects  in  the  Isles,  I  subjoin  a  brief  vocabulary,  which  may  be  of  use  to  my 

Brea  Bre  signifies  '  a  mountain' ;  and  hence  the  name  of  Bryher,  originally 
Brehar.  "  This  island"  says  Borlase  "  is  very  mountainous ;  whence  its 
name,  in  Cornu-British  signifying  a  high  mountain." 

Cam  or  Cairn  signifies  '  a  shelf  in  the  sea'  '  a  heap  of  rocks.'  The  earns 
are  a  striking  feature  in  the  scenery  of  the  isles. 

Carreg  is  <a  rock'  This  word  probably  enters  into  the  composition  of 
Carrick-starne,  the  bold  rock  in  the  sea  on  the  southern  side  of  St.  Mary's, 
fronting  the  Pulpit  rock.  Start  i.e.  'firm,'  'fast'  may  guide  us  to  the 
meaning  of  the  last  syllable. 

Guel  or  Huel  "  in  Cornish  signifying  a  working  for  tin"  may  perhaps  give 
iU  name  to  the  Western  hill  of  Bryher  and  to  the  islet  which  lies  opposite 
to  it. 

Guen  signifies  a  plain  or  down.  Guee  is  green,  lively,  flourishing.  May 
not  that  part  of  St.  Agnes  which  ia  called  the  Gugh  derive  its  name  from 
one  of  these  words  ? 

Ikliik  (helik)  is  a  willow  tree.     Hence  Forth  Hellick. 

•  D»Tie»  Gilbert's  Hlit.  Cornwall.  Vol.  Hi.  p  430. 


Helek  '  moory,'  '  marsliy.' 

Leh  ia  '  a  flat  stone.'    Carn-leh  is  a  group  of  flat  rocks. 

Logan  means  '  shaking,'  '  rocking.' 

Maui1,  when  compounded  with  another  word,  Vaur,  signifies  great ;  and 
this  helps  us  to  the  origin  of  the  word  Menavawr,  which  has  been  corrupted 
into  Menavore,  alias  Man  o'war,  from  the  fancied  resemblance  of  this  noble 
rock  to  a  ship  in  full  sail. 

Meinek  which  probably  gives  its  name  to  the  beach  near  Old  Town,  Forth 
Minick,  means  '  stony.' 

Men,  Min,  and  Pen,  which  are  the  first  syllable  of  so  many  words,  signify 
'  a  head'  '  a  hill ; '  '  stones ; '  '  a  promontory.'  "  A  point  of  land  was  in 
Cornish  called  Pen."  * 

Morva  signifies  a  place  near  the  sea.     Hence  Cam  Morval. 

Scilly  is,  in  Pryce's  Vocabulary,  rendered,  cut  off.  He  adds  "from 
hence  the  Scilly  Isles.  Cut  off  from  the  Insular  continent."  This  does 
not  appear  the  probable  derivation  of  the  word. 

Tre  is  an  original  British  word,  and  means  'a  town,'  'a  gentleman's  seat.' 
Davies  Gilbert  defines  it  "  a  dwelling  place,  or  an  assemblage  of  dwellings 
and,  therefore,  a  town."  Trenoweth,  St.  Mary's,  means  'new  dwelling-place,' 
nowydh  or  noweth  signifying  '  new.'  Thus  also  Tresco  is  '  the  place  of  elders,' 
scao  meaning  in  the  Cornish  language  '  an  elder  tree.' 

Vean  and  Vear,  which  form  the  latter  syllables  in  the  names  of  two  of  the 
Western  isles,  signify  respectively  little  and  great ;  Vear  being  the  same  with 
Veor.  Ros,  a  mountain,  is,  probably,  the  former  syllable  in  Rosevear  and 

•  Da?ies  Gilbert's  Hist.  Cornwall.  Vol.  iv.  p.  317. 

HEPTEMBER,  1850. 


Accommodation,  Means  of  Communication — Lionesse     .     .      .     Page      1 

Samson,  Bryher,  adjacent  rocks  and  isles 8 


Tresco,  Isles  between  Tresco  and  St.  Martin's 17 

The  Bishop,  Western  Isles,  Annet,  St.  Agnes 33 


Eastern  Isles,  St.  Martin's 51 

St.  Mary's,  Peninnis,  Rock  basons,  Kettle  and  Pans,  Old  Town,  Holy 

Vale 69 

St.   Mary's,   Southern  Coast,    Telegraph,  Porth    Loo,    Garrison,   and 

Batteries 95 


Heights,  Druidical  Remains,  Single  Stones,  Provisions,  Produce,  Ship- 
building, Education,  General  prosperity •         123 

Longevity,  Causes  of  Death,  Supply  of  fresh  water •   1 43 



Birds  .  .  .  . 
Zoological  Features 
Crustacea  .  .  • 
Zoophytes  .  .  • 
Ferns  . 
Geolopy  .... 


NIGHT  OF  THE  5th  OF  FEBRUARY,  1850, Frontispiece. 



STAR    CASTLE    AND   HUGH    TOWN,   St.   MARY'S 47 


THERE  are  several  works  on  the  Isles  of  Scilly,  larger 
and  more  elaborate  than  this.  But  they  do  not  seem  to 
supersede  the  necessity  of  a  smaller  book,  which  may  serve 
as  a  manual  or  guide  to  some,  who  have  not  leisure  to 
consult  fuller  and  more  detailed  accounts.  The  information 
here  supplied  is  of  quite  a  different  character  from  that 
which  the  antiquarian  or  the  lover  of  research  desires.  He 
may  be  referred  to  Borlase,  Heath,  Troutbeck,  or  Woodley  j 
and  from  their  pages  he  will  gather  many  curious  and 
interesting  particulars  of  these  Islands.  But  it  has  often 
occurred  to  the  author  of  this  volume,  during  a  residence 
of  some  years  in  these  pleasant  isles,  that  a  book  such  as 
that  now  offered  to  the  public  is  much  wanted. 

Little  is  generally  known  or  thought  of  this  Western 
extremity  of  England,  notwithstanding  the  existence  of  so 
many  works  on  the  subject.  The  publication  of  some 
beautiful  sketches  made  in  the  summer  of  1848,  by  Lady 
Sophia  Tower,  who  has  kindly  lent  her  aid  to  adorn  and 

2  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

ri.m-h  this  little  book,  can  scarcely  fail  to  draw  the  attention 
of  tourists  to  Scilly;  and  to  inspire  in  them  a  wish  to 
become  acquainted  with  scenes  so  various  and  replete  with 
beauty.  For  it  is  this  which  must  strike  every  visiter. 
There  is  nothing  common  or  ordinary  in  the  scenery  of  the 
Isles.  Where  will  you  look  for  anything  of  precisely  the 
same  character  or  kind  ?  A  cluster  of  Islands  in  the  midst 
of  the  sea,  abounding  in  fine,  bold  views,  and  possessing 
every  advantage  of  harbours,  soil  and  climate,  and  inhabited 
by  a  race  of  people  who  speak  the  English  language  with 
a  remarkable  purity  of  accent,  and  who  are  well  skilled 
in  the  arts  of  agriculture  and  shipbuilding,  as  well  as  in 
those  other  trades,  which  are  necessary  to  the  comfort  and 
convenience  of  life. 

From  whom  are  the  inhabitants  descended?  Of  what 
country  were  their  earliest  ancestors  ?  What  was  the  old, 
classic  name  of  the  Islands?  Are  they  the  Cassiterides 
mentioned  by  Pliny  and  others,  and  of  which  Herodotus,* 
with  his  usual  frankness  and  caution,  confesses  himself  to 
have  been  ignorant  ?  f 

•  Lib.  iiL  115. 

t  Any  one  who  wishes  to  discuss  this  question  and  to  know  the 
opinions  which  have  been  advanced  upon  it,  may  with  advantage  consult 
the  Appendix  to  Facciolati  Lexicon,  under  the  word  Cassiterides.  One 
paragraph  I  venture  to  quote.  "Pro  Sorlingis  vel  Siluribus  insulis 
accipiendas  esse  Cassiterides  censuit  vir  plurimoe  his  in  rebus  auctoritatis 
Camdenns  nostras:  quse  Insulse  sitae  e  regione  Cornubite  promontorii 
LiMsei,  numero  plus  minus  sunt  centum  et  quadraginta  quinque,  gramine 
amcenae,  avibus  aquaticis  abundantes,  stanni  quoque  non  parum  feraces, 
unde  antiqnum  illis  nomen.  Earum  decem  extantiores  sunt,  quarum  omnium 
maxima  est  St.  Mary's."  "Our  Camden,  than  whom  there  is  no  greater 
authority  on  these  subjects,  is  of  opinion  that  the  Cassiterides  are  the  Islands 
intended  by  the  Sorlings  or  the  Silures :  which  islands,  situate  directly  oppo- 


On  such  points  of  enquiry,  it  is  not  the  object  of  the 
writer  to  enter,  or  even  to  give  his  opinion.  His  design  is 
obvious.  He  brings  the  visiter  to  the  islands,  and  leads 
him  from  place  to  place,  telling  him  where  to  go  and 
what  to  see.  He  has  endeavoured  to  be  exact ;  and  what- 
ever faults  may  be  found  with  his  work,  he  is  not  conscious 
of  any  incorrect  or  inaccurate  statements.  The  orthography 
of  the  names  of  islands  and  places  is  that  used  in  a  survey 
of  the  Scilly  Isles  by  Graeme  Spence,  1792. 

The  title  which  has  been  adopted  for  this  little  book, 
does  not  by  any  means  imply  that  one  week  will  suffice 
to  explore  all  the  beauties  of  the  islands.  A  much  longer 
period,  even  a  whole  summer,  might  be  spent  in  this 
remote  and  unfrequented  part  of  Cornwall.  Nor  would 
the  time  drag  heavily  along,  as  is  so  frequently  the  case 
in  all  the  monotony  of  our  more  fashionable  watering 
places.  There  is,  on  the  contrary,  a  greater  variety  of 
enjoyment  offered  to  the  visiter,  if  he  is  in  search  of 
pure  air,  healthful  exercise,  picturesque  views  and  bold 
scenery,  within  the  circuit  of  these  islands,  than  can  be 
found  in  places  of  more  general  resort. 

It  has  frequently  been  the  practice  of  tourists  to  regard 
the  Isles  of  Scilly  as  a  place  to  be  visited,  if  there  are  a  few 
days  for  which  no  better  occupation  can  be  found,  when 
they  have  seen  the  Land's  End  and  St.  Michael's  Mount, 
and  the  other  objects  of  interest  in  the  neighbourhood  of 

site  to  the  Lizard  in  Cornwall,  are  about  a  hundred  and  forty  five  in 
number,  charming  in  their  verdure,  abounding  in  water  fowl,  yielding  not  a 
little  quantity  of  Tin,  whence  their  name  is  derived.  Of  these  islands  ten 
are  more  conspicuous  than  the  rest,  of  all  which,  St.  Mary's  is  the  greatest." 

A   WEEK    IN    TH3 

Penzance.  Or,  it  may  be,  they  have  availed  themselves,  if 
they  happen  to  be  in  the  West  of  England  of  "  an  excursion 
to  the  Scilly  Isles,"  advertised  by  the  owners  of  the  steam 
packets,  which  sail  between  Hayle  and  Bristol ;  and  have 
thus  paid  a  hurried  visit,  sufficient  only  to  convince  them 
how  great  is  the  mistake  of  supposing  that  two  days  can 
afford  an  opportunity  for  seing  the  many  objects  of  interest 
which  are  here  to  be  found.  A  glance  at  the  contents  of 
this  volume  will  show  that  such  a  trip,  however  agreeable  to 
some  who  love  a  sea  voyage,  is  altogether  insufficient  for 
those  who  wish  to  gain  any  tolerable  acquaintance  with  the 
interesting  scenery  and  fine  rocks  which  give  a  peculiar 
beauty  to  Scilly.  For  this  purpose  a  far  more  leisurely 
survey  is  required ;  and  it  will  save  disappointment  to  such 
visiters,  if  they  will  previously  enquire  what  attractions  the 
Isles  present,  and  what  accommodation  they  offer  for  a 
longer  sojourn.  The  attractions  which  the  Isles  present, 
it  is  the  especial  object  of  this  book  to  show ;  but  of  the 
accommodations  which  they  offer  a  few  words  may  first  be 

Let  it  then  be  known  for  the  comfort  of  all,  who  think 
of  Scilly  as  only  an  assemblage  of  ship-destroying  rocks 
and  fishermen's  huts,  that  there  are  several  inns  at 
St.  Mary's  where  every  comfortable  entertainment  may  be 
had.  The  principal  are  those  kept  by  Mumford,  Bluett, 
1 1  irks,  and  Ellis.  Here  as  well  as  in  some  private  lodging 
houses,  visiters  will  receive  all  requisite  attendance,  and  at 
moderate  charges. 

The  communication  between  the  main  land  and  the  Isles, 

ISLE8    OF    6CILLY. 

is  on  the  whole  regular  and  certain.  The  Lionesse  Packet, 
so  named  from  the  tradition  that  the  Isles  of  Scilly  were 
once  joined  to  the  main  land  of  Cornwall  by  an  isthmus 
called  the  Lionesse,*  is  a  comfortable  vessel ;  under  the  care 
of  able  and  experienced  seamen,  who  are  ready  to  show  all 
kindness  and  attention  to  their  passengers.  Of  one  thing  it 
is  necessary  to  apprise  all  who  intend  to  sail  in  her.  She 
carries  no  store  of  provisions.  It  is,  perhaps,  a  just  cause 
of  complaint  that  the  master  declines  the  risk  of  purchasing 
supplies  of  food  for  those  who  take  a  passage  with  him. 
He  alleges  as  his  excuse  the  roguery  of  some  who,  having 
regaled  themselves  at  his  expense,  afterwards  refused  to  pay 
for  what  they  had  eaten.  But  it  matters  not  what  is  the 
cause ;  the  result  is  simply  this,  that  you  will  have  nothing 
to  eat,  however  hungry  you  may  be,  unless  you  lay  in  a 
stock  before  you  embark.  At  present  the  Lionesse  sails 
from  Scilly  on  Monday  and  Friday,  and  from  Penzance  on 
Wednesday  and  Saturday. 

If  the  wind  is  favourable,  the  voyage  from  Penzance  to 
Scilly  will  occupy  between  five  and  eight  hours,  though  it  is 
sometimes  made  in  even  less  than  five  hours ;  and,  as  the 
Packet  sails  at  nine  o'clock,  a.  m.,  the  visiter  will,  in  all 
probability,  reach  his  destination  sometime  before  sunset. 
The  Isles  are  a  peculiarly  striking  object  as  the  vessel  nears 
them  from  the  mainland.  Those  first  approached  are  St. 
Martin's  and  the  Eastern  Isles.  On  the  eastern  end  of 
St.  Martin's  is  placed  a  day  mark,  which  is  a  conspicuous 

•  The  reader  will  find  in  Woodley's  pages  an  elaborate  discussion  of 
this  curious  question,  which  can  hardly  find  place  in  this  work. 

A   WEEK    IN   THE 

object  as  the  sailor  presses  towards  this  dangerous  coast ; 
and  warns  him  to  keep  a  respectful  distance  from  the 
ledges  and  rocks  which  would  otherwise  put  his  bark  in 

O  •*• 

peril.  As  the  vessel  holds  her  course  towards  Crow  Sound, 
the  channel  by  which  at  or  near  high  water  she  enters  The 
Road,  a  high  conical  rock,  called  Hanjague,  presents  itself. 
Passing  this  you  reach  in  quick  succession  a  group  of  isles, 
which  both  in  situation  and  appearance  have  remarkable 
features  of  beauty.  Having  entered  The  Road  your  eye 
will  at  once  be  drawn  to  the  rock  which  gives  its  name  to 
the  channel  between  St.  Mary's  and  the  Eastern  Isles.  The 
Trinity  brethren  have  recently  placed  a  beacon  upon  the 
Crow  Rock,  before  which  the  entrance  to  The  Road  by  this 
channel  was  extremely  hazardous.  A  similar  beacon  has 
been  erected  on  the  Woolpack,  at  the  entrance  of  St.  Mary's 
Sound  ;  which  course  a  vessel  is  obliged  to  take  when  there 
is  not  sufficient  depth  of  water  over  the  bar  of  sand  in  Crow 
Sound.  Assuming  that  you  are  so  fortunate  as  to  gain  the 
harbour  by  the  shorter  course,  through  Crow  Sound,  the 
opposite  shores  of  Tresco  with  the  white  sandy  beach  will 
presently  engage  your  attention.  The  large  stone  building 
which  stands  on  somewhat  higher  ground  is  The  Abbey, 
the  residence  of  Augustus  Smith,  Esquire,  the  Proprietor 
of  the  Isles. 

On  the  coast  of  St.  Mary's,  nearly  opposite  the  Abbey, 

you  will  observe  a  fine  mass  of  rocks  called  Cam  Morval. 

This  Cam  which  forms  the  cliff,  is  of  considerable  height, 

and  very  bold.     Near  it  are  the  remains  of  some  batteries ;  * 

*  Troutbeck. 


and  its  precipitous  sides  point  it  out  as  an  almost 
natural  fortification  and  bulwark  of  the  harbour.  It 
needs  the  experience  of  a  good  pilot  to  bring  a  vessel 
safely  into  the  Pool.  The  channel  lies  between  two  rocks, 
of  which  the  larger  is  called  the  Cow  and  the  smaller  the 
Calf.  To  the  South  West  of  the  Cow  is  a  dangerous 
reef  of  rocks  called  Bacon  Ledge,  which  must  be  carefully 
avoided.  Between  this  ledge  and  the  Cow  there  is  a 
good  channel  for  vessels  coming  into  the  port  from  the 
West  or  South,  through  the  Broad  Sound  or  St.  Mary's 

The  Pier,  near  which  the  Packet  comes  to  an  anchor, 
was  built  at  the  same  time  as  the  present  Church,  in  the 
years  1835 — 38.  It  is,  as  you  will  soon  have  an  oppor- 
tunity of  seeing,  far  more  commodious  than  the  old  pier : 
nor  will  it  fail  to  surprise  those  who  consider  the  subject, 
that  the  islands  should  have  been  so  long  without  the 
protection  and  benefit  of  such  a  pier  as  they  now  possess. 
The  water  within  the  ledges  bearing  the  names  of  the  Cow, 
the  Calf  and  Bacon  Ledge,  is  called  The  Pool,  and  every 
where  offers  good  anchorage.  So  also  does  The  Road  to 
the  Northward  of  those  rocks,  where  there  is  seven  or  eight 
fathoms  of  water. 

Following  the  plan  which  has  been  proposed,  I  shall 
briefly  mention  the  principal  objects  of  interest  in  the  Isles ; 
so  arranging  them  that  a  visiter,  who  has  but  one  week 
at  his  command,  may,  wind  and  weather  permitting,  form 
a  just  opinion  of  their  beauty.  We  will  allot  the  first  four 
days  to  an  examination  of  the  off  islands,  as  they  are 



called,  i.e.  those  lying  at  some  distance  from  St.  Mary's; 
reserving  the  last  two  days  for  exploring  St.  Mary's,  the 
principal  island. 


OUR  first  excursion  shall  be  to  Samson  and  Bryher. 
Starting  early  in  the  morning,  for  we  have  much  to  see, 
we  will  desire  the  boatman  to  steer  us  across  The  Road 
in  a  westerly  course,  for  the  former  of  these  islands. 

At  a  distance  of  three  quarters  of  a  mile  from  Samson, 
and  about  the  same  distance  from  Tresco,  is  the  conspicuous 
Nut  Rock,  the  mark  for  pilots  bringing  vessels  to  the 
main  anchorage.  Those  two  hills  before  you,  to  the  most 
southerly  of  which  we  will  direct  our  boat,  are  the  Isle  of 
Samson.  You  will  find  a  convenient  landing  place  on  the 
eastern  side  of  the  island. 

Woodley  says  "There  are  strong  grounds  for  supposing 
that  Bryher  and  Samson  were  formerly  united,  as  they  are 
connected  by  sands  which  are  passable  at  low  water,  and, 
on  the  shifting  of  which,  the  remains  of  hedges  have  been 
discovered  in  places  which  are  now  more  than  twelve  feet 
under  water  at  high  tides.  Some  ruins  of  houses  are  also 
still  visible  in  the  sands  on  the  shore."  It  is  far  more 

10  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

probable  that  Samson  was  once  united  to  Tresco ;  as  there 
is  much  deeper  water  between  Samson  and  Bryher  than 
between  Samson  and  Tresco. 

There  are  no  longer  vestiges  of  houses  visible  on  the  shore 
of  Samson;  but  the  remains  of  hedges  are  both  here,  and 
at  St.  Helen's  and  Tean,  which  lie  between  Tresco  and 
St.  Martin's.  In  Woodley's  time  there  were  "  seven  houses 
and  thirty-four  inhabitants"  on  this  isle.  There  are  now 
but  three  or  four  houses,  and  proportionabiy  fewer  persons ; 
it  having  been  deemed  advisable  to  remove  the  inhabitants, 
as  opportunities  offered,  to  St.  Mary's,  that  the  parents  may 
have  greater  facilities  for  gaining  their  livelihood,  and  that 
the  children  may  enjoy  the  benefits  of  education.  A  visit  to 
their  cottages  will  show  you  that  such  a  change  was  on 
every  account  desirable,  although  it  is  gratifying  to  see  the 
comfort  and  sufficiency  which  the  present  residents  on  this 
isolated  spot  enjoy. 

Ascending  the  highest  point  of  land,  you  will  gain  a 
commanding  view  of  the  Isles,  and  at  one  glance,  take  in 
their  relative  situation  and  proportions.  St.  Mary's  is  seen 
to  great  advantage  with  its  Church  and  harbour,  the 
Garrison  surmounted  by  the  Star  Castle ;  St.  Agnes  with 
its  distinguishing  feature,  the  Light-House;  Annet  stretch- 
ing out  towards  the  West,  with  its  jaggy  extremities,  like 
so  many  hay-cocks.  Looking  over  its  outer-most  point  to 
the  West,  you  will  see  the  Bishop  Rock,  on  which  the 
elegant  Light-House  which  forms  the  frontispiece  was  in 
progress  of  erection. 

The  rock  which  stands  nearly  due  West  from  Samson 


ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  11 

Mincarlo >  those  more  to  the  South  are  Little  and  Great 
Minalto.  That  most  to  the  West  is  Maiden  Bower;  and 
to  the  North  of  Maiden  Bower  stands  the  rock  which  has 
given  its  name  to  this  our  English  Archipelago.  Of  the 
origin  of  this  name  it  is  easy  to  form  conjectures ;  but  as 
nothing  is  definitely  known,  it  may  be  left  to  eaeh  person  to 
entertain  his  own  opinion.  The  most  probable  solution 
however  is,  that  it  derives  its  name  from  Silya  which  is  the 
Cornish  for  Conger.*  In  reference,  probably,  to  the  traffic 
of  the  inhabitants  in  this  fish,  the  bay  on  the  North  side  of 
St.  Agnes  is  called  Perconger,  i.  e.  Forth  Conger. 

Scilly  is  a  flat  islet  of  massive  rock,  divided  into  two 
parts  by  a  deep  chasm,  through  which  the  water  flows. 
Each  part  is  surmounted  by  a  small  lump  of  rock,  styled 
the  North  and  South  Cuckoo.  It  is  with  great  difficulty 
that  a  landing  is  effected  on  Scilly  or  on  any  of  the 
neighbouring  rocks,  from  the  strong  tides  which  run  between 
them.  It  can  be  accomplished  only  when  the  weather  has 
been  for  some  time  very  calm. 

Between  Maiden  Bower  and  the  isle  on  which  you  are 
standing  are  the  Seal  Rock,  Illiswilgic,  and  Castle  Bryher. 
The  last  rock  is  a  conspicuous  feature  in  the  scenery,  and 
arrests  attention  whenever  the  eye  is  turned  in  that  direction. 
Its  bold  and  rugged  summit  rises  finely  above  the  low  lands 
of  Samson  and  is  seen  from  The  Road  and  almost  every 
island  of  the  group.  Between  the  isle  of  Bryher  and  Scilly 
is  an  uncultivated  islet,  called  Gweal,  containing  seven  acres. 

*  For    this    information,   and    the    conjecture    founded    upon    it,    I    ;uu 
indebted  to  Augustus  Smith,  Esq. 

12  A   WEEK    IN    THB 

From  this  picturesque  group  of  rocks  the  eye  will  quickly 
travel  to  Bryher,  with  its  White  Church,  and  Tresco,  with 
Oliver    Cromwell's   Castle.      Having  thus  from   a   distant 
height  surveyed  this  portion  of  the  group  of  Islands,  you 
will  perhaps  be  disposed  to  rejoin  your  boat,  and  seek  to  gain 
a  nearer  view  of  the  several  rocks  and  islets.     If  the  wind 
and  tide  permit  a  close  approach  to  Castle  Bryher  or  those 
other  rocks,  in  the  midst  of  which  it  stands,  the  visiter  will 
be  better  able  to  judge  correctly  of  their  magnitude ;    and 
their  dimensions    will    surprize    him.     Castle   Bryher,   for 
instance,  is  between  fifty  and  sixty  feet  in  height.     Maiden 
Bower  is  a  fine  bold  rock,  and  Scilly  is  acknowledged  to 
deserve  the  name  of  an  Isle. 

When  you  have  seen  as  much  of  these  outstanding  rocks 
and  isles^as  *your  time  permits,  you  should  make  for  the 
Northern  promontory  of  Bryher,  called  Shipman  Head. 

By  taking  this  course  the  visiter  will  leave  unnoticed  the 
Southern  and  South  Western  portions  of  this  Isle.  He  may 
not  deem  it  necessary  minutely  to  inspect  every  bay  or 
promontory ;  more  especially  as  the  prospect  from  the  Town 
Hill,  to  which  I  propose  to  bring  him  by  and  by,  will  show 
sufficiently  the  chief  objects  of  interest  in  the  island.  For 
the  benefit,  however,  of  those  who  neither  lack  time  nor 
inclination  to  make  the  complete  circuit  of  Bryher,  I  will 
enter  into  a  more  particular  description  of  its  various  parts. 

The  Southern  Hill  is  called  Samson  Hill;  and  the  bay 
which  lies  nearly  due  South  on  the  Western  side  of  this  hill 
is  marked  in  the  map,  Rushy  Bay.  This  appears  a  more 
reasonable  name  than  Russia  Bay,  by  which  it  is  mentioned 

ISLES    OP   8CILLY.  13 

in  Woodley's  history;  for  which  he  very  properly  says, 
"  it  were  vain  to  enquire  the  reason."  Doubtless  the' name  was 
suggested  by  the  growth  of  rushes  on  that  part  of  the  island. 
On  and  about  that  spot,  more  than  any  other  on  Bryher, 
bunches  of  rushes  are,  I  am  informed,  now  to  be  found. 

The  bay,  which  lies  at  the  West  South  West  corner  is 
Stony  Bay ;  deriving  its  name  from  the  shingle*  with  which 
its  beach  is  covered.  Colvel  Rocks  are  in  a  line  with  the 
Southern  promontory  by  which  this  bay  is  terminated, 
and  Heath  Point  is  its  Northern,  or  rather  North  Western 

Between  Heath  Point  and  the  next  high  land,  which  is 
Gweal  Hill,  so  named  from  the  islet  lying  opposite  to  it,  is 
Long  Bay,  commonly  called  Great  Forth.  At  low  spring 
tides  you  may  easily  walk  from  Bryher  to  Gweal. 

Near  the  Northern  extremity  of  Great  Porth,  and  to  the 
East  of  Gweal  Hill,  "  is  a  fine  lake  or  pond  of  fresh  water, 
covering  a  space  of  between  three  and  four  acres,  but 
subject  to  brackishness  by  the  spray  of  the  sea."f  Woodley 
somewhat  over  estimates  the  extent  of  this  pool,  which  does 
not,  most  certainly,  cover  more  than  two  acres. 

There  is  also  a  spring  of  fresh  water  in  the  North  West 
part  of  the  island  which  issues  out  of  the  cliff  on  the  sea 
shore.  Troutbeck  says  that  it  "  affords  the  only  stream  of 
fresh  water  in  this  island."  Woodley  in  his  work  states 
that  "  it  is  too  remote  to  be  of  service  and  is  difficult  of 

*  Shingle,  small  smooth  stones.    This  word  is,  I  believe  correct,  though 
I  cannot  find  any  authority  for  its  use  in  this  sense. 

t  Woodley. 

A   WEEK    IN   THE 

access."  However  this  may  be,  the  spring  is  remarkable 
for  its  purity,  and  is  often  resorted  to  by  those  who  are 
suffering  from  wounds  or  sores.  Its  sanative  power  is 
generally  understood  and  acknowledged.  The  bay  itself 
is  also  worth  visiting;  nor  must  we  omit  to  notice  the 
peculiarity,  which  both  Troutbeck  and  Woodley  have 
mentioned,  that  "  upon  this  spring  the  sun  never  shines : " 
the  cause  of  this  marvel  being  that  the  portion  of  the  cliff, 
from  which  the  spring  wells  forth,  is  so  situated  that  the  sun 
does  not  reach  it  in  any  season  of  the  year. 

The  Western  shore  of  Bryher  presents  to  those,  who  view 
it  from  the  water,  a  great  variety  of  scenery,  in  a  succession 
of  high  lands  separated  by  deep  bays  from  each  other. 
The  cliff  is  very  bold  at  Shipman  Head,  but  you  may  con- 
veniently land,  on  either  the  Southern  or  the  Eastern  side. 
The  South  East  side  is  the  best.  The  rocks  which  form  this 
head-land  deserve  a  close  examination.  The  outer  extremity 
of  Bryher  is  separated  from  its  main-land  by  a  yawning 
chasm,  which  at  the  narrowest  part  is  about  twelve  feet  wide. 
It  is  called  the  Gulf;  "the  sides  of  which  are  nearly  per- 
pendicular and  appear  to  have  been  rent  from  each  other, 
rather  than  worn  by  the  washing  of  the  tide."  *  The  highest 
point  of  Shipman  Head  is  upwards  of  sixty  feet. 

The  Northern  hill  of  Bryher,  which  Troutbeck  describes  as 
"the  roughest  and  most  mountainous  of  all  the  Scilly 
Islands,"  ofifers  a  very  uneven  surface  and  but  a  dreary  walk 
to  the  pedestrian.  He  may,  therefore,  well  avoid  it,  and 
make  his  way  along  the  Eastern,  or,  more  correctly,  the 

*  Woodley. 

ISLE8    OF    SCILLY.  15 

North  Eastern  side  of  the  island.  This  side  of  Bryher  and 
the  Western  coast  of  Tresco  form  the  harbour  of  New 
Grimsby.  The  Rock,  which  when  viewed  from  a  distance 
seems  to  stand  nearly  in  the  middle  of  the  channel,  but 
which  may  be  reached  on  foot  from  Bryher  at  low  water,  is 
called  Hangman  Isle ;  from  the  circumstance,  as  Troutbeck 
tells  us,  that  some  mutinous  soldiers  were  hanged  there  by 
the  Parliament  forces  in  the  great  rebellion.  Nearly  opposite 
upon  the  shore  of  Tresco  stands  Cromwell's  Castle,  which 
is  kept  in  substantial  repair  by  the  Board  of  Ordnance. 

The  walk  along  the  coast  of  Bryher  in  a  Southerly  direction 
offers  a  continual  succession  of  fine  views.  Large  masses  of 
rock  project  from  the  cliff,  overhanging  New  Grimsby,  and 
at  its  base  is  a  path,  which  will  presently  bring  you  to  the 
foot  of  the  Watch  Hill.  This  you  should  ascend  and  from 
its  summit  you  will  gain  a  fine  extensive  prospect,  embracing 
in  great  measure,  the  objects  which  you  saw  from  Samson  • 
but  from  your  change  of  situation  they  are  seen  in  a  some- 
what different  aspect.  To  the  North,  Hangman  Isle,  New 
Grimsby  Harbour,  and  Cromwell's  Castle ;  towards  the  East, 
St.  Martin's ;  and  about  ten  leagues  distant,  the  Land's  End. 
In  the  same  direction,  but  almost  at  your  feet,  the  Abbey 
Grounds,  and  the  pond  of  fresh  water ;  Southward,  the 
Eastern  Isles  with  their  pretty  green  slopes  even  to  the 
water's  edge ;  St.  Mary's  with  the  white  sands  of  Crow  Bar 
fill  up  the  outline,  and  bring  you  once  again  to  the  Pier 
and  to  the  Pool.  And  it  is  time  to  think  of  returning 
there;  for  the  sun  is  declining  towards  the  western  wave, 
and  the  shadows  of  evening  will  soon  begin  to  lengthen. 

16  ISLES    OP   8CILLY. 

But  you  may  well  linger  a  few  minutes  on  this  charming 
hill.  For  how  rich  and  lovely  are  the  mellow  lights  which 
now  rest  upon  the  landscape.  Look  once  more  at  Cromwell's 
Castle,  and  the  clear,  still  pond  of  fresh  water,  stretching 
towards  the  Abbey.  The  repose  of  sunset,  the  softness 
of  the  air,  and  the  clear  waters,  reflecting  in  their  bosom 
the  many  tints  of  a  summer  evening  sky,  will  all  concur 
to  heighten  the  interest  of  the  scene.  Descending  from  the 
hill,  a  good  road  will  conduct  you  to  the  Church,  near 
which  you  may  re-embark  for  St.  Mary's. 

Troutbeck  says  "not  many  years  ago,  there  were  only 
two  families  on  this  island,  but  now  there  are  eleven." 
"  Two  years  since, "  says  Woodley  "  there  were  twenty-two, 
and  now,  as  appears  from  the  enumeration  of  the  houses, 
there  are  twenty-four,  and  one  hundred  and  forty  inhab- 
itants." The  population  at  the  present  time,  consists  of 
thirty  families,  and  one  hundred  and  nineteen  inhabitants. 

A  careful  examination  of  the  Eastern  shore  of  Bryher, 
is  recommended  to  those,  who  are  desirous  to  add  to  their 
collection  of  shells. 

THIS  day  we  propose  to  visit  Tresco  and  the  Isles  between 
it  and  St.  Martin's.  We  will  land  on  the  Southern  beach 
of  Tresco,  at  some  point  of  the  white  sands,  eastward  of 
the  Abbey.  In  your  course  thither  you  will  pass  a  fine  rock 
called  The  Mare,  from  its  resemblance  to  the  head  and  neck 
of  a  colossal  horse.  It  is  connected  with  some  ledges, 
running  «out  towards  the  North  East,  which  are  visible  at 
low  water.  You  will  observe  also,  to  the  North  East,  a  bold 
rock  which  wears  the  appearance  of  a  crown.  It  forms 
the  Southern  extremity  of  Pentle  Bay.  The  Northern 
extremity  of  this  bay  is  called  the  Lizard  point.  Pentle 
Bay  is  the  best  place  on  the  shores  of  Tresco  for  shells. 
But  for  the  present  we  must  defer  our  visit  to  its  beautiful 

A  good  road  has  recently  been  made  from  the  beach  on 
which  we  have  landed  to  the  Abbey  grounds,  offering  to 
conduct  you  to  the  margin  of  those  large  pools  of  fresh 
water,  which  are  so  singular  and  beautiful  a  feature  in  the 

18  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

scenery  of  this  Isle.  Near  them,  upon  an  eminence,  stands 
the  Abbey.  If  you  have  received  permission,  and  it  is 
seldom  refused,  to  see  the  gardens  and  the  grounds,  you 
must  pass  through  the  gate  which  is  nearly  at  the  end  of  the 
road,  and  ascend  the  slope  which  lies  before  you,  having  the 
Abbey  on  your  left,  and  the  plantations  on  your  right  hand. 
You  thus  arrive  at  the  principal  entrance  to  the  house  and 
gardens.  Passing  through  the  arch-way,  you  will  be  at  once 
struck  with  the  extent  and  beauty  of  the  view,  and  will 
readily  believe  that  the  spot  chosen  by  the  Proprietor  for 
his  residence,  is  the  best  which  the  islands  afford.  From 
the  terrace  in  front  of  the  house,  he  commands  a  view  of 
The  Road  and  all  the  principal  Sounds;  and  from  the  hill 
on  which  his  flag-staff  is  placed,  he  sees  the  whole  extent 
of  his  domains,  North  and  South,  East  and  West. 

On  entering  the  gardens  you  will  be  charmed  with  the 
gay  profusion  of  flowers,  some  creeping  on  the  ground,  and 
others  climbing  the  rock-work,  which  affords  at  once  shelter 
from  the  winds,  and  inviting  opportunities  of  display.  The 
climate  and  soil  are  very  favourable  to  vegetation,  and  as 
great  a  variety  of  plants  and  flowers  is  found  here  growing 
in  the  open  air,  as  in  any  part  of  Great  Britain.  Among 
them  we  may  notice  the  numerous  tribe  of  Mesembrianthe- 
mums,  spreading  in  the  greatest  luxuriance  and  beauty; 
Fuchsias  of  all  kinds,  Heliotropes,  Crassulas,  Egyptian 
Arams,  and  the  graceful  Clianthus.  These,  and  many  other 
yet  more  curious  plants,  flourish  in  our  genial  climate, 
requiring  only  shelter  and  protection  from  the  violence 
of  gales.  The  Geraniums  and  Myrtles,  and  sweet 


scented  Verbena,  grow  to  the  dimensions  of  considerable 
trees;  and,  later  in  the  year,  the  gardens  are  adorned  with 
handsome  bunches  of  Chrysanthemums.  In  the  midst  of 
the  gardens,  stand  the  walls  of  the  Old  Abbey  Church, 
mantled  over  with  the  evergreen  Geranium.  Troutbeck 
says  "  this  Church  is  ninety  feet  in  length,  and  thirty  feet 
in  breadth,  and  stands  due  East  and  West.  In  the  South 
side  wall,  is  a  fine  arch  of  good  workmanship;  and  on  the 
North  side  has  been  another  arch,  directly  opposite  to  it, 
and  of  the  same  breadth,  which  is  now  fallen  down,  and 
only  six  feet  in  height  standing.  The  Church  appears 
from  these  two  arches  fronting  each  other,  to  have  been 
built  in  the  form  of  a  cross.  The  arch  that  is  standing  on 
the  South  side,  is  twelve  feet  wide  at  the  bottom,  and  runs 
up  to  a  sharp  point  at  the  top,  which  is  sixteen  feet  high; 
and  on  the  West  side  of  the  standing  arch  is  an  arched 
door. "  So  writes  John  Troutbeck  in  his  work  which  he 
most  truly  declares  to  be  "  entertaining  to  all  degrees  of 
readers ; "  but  his  account  of  the  Abbey  Church  is  certainly 
inaccurate.  The  present  Proprietor  of  the  Isles  has  taken 
great  pains  to  ascertain  the  truth  and  he  is  clearly  of  opinion 
that  there  never  was  a  transept.  The  arch  would  lead 
to  the  supposition  that  transepts  had  formed  part  of  the 
original  design,  but  there  is  nothing  whatever  in  the  founda- 
tion or  other  part  of  the  building  to  show  that  the  design 
had  been  carried  into  effect.  The  stone  used  in  the  building 
is  granite,  excepting  the  arches,  which  are  cased  with  a 
remarkably  fine  grit  stone  of  a  reddish  colour,  supposed 
to  have  been  procured  from  Normandy.  "  The  Abbey  was 

20  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

founded  in  the  tenth  century,  and  was  erected  by  some  of 
the  Earls  of  Cornwall  soon  after  the  Norman  conquest."* 
"  But,  so  early  as  the  time  of  King  Henry  the  First,  this 
monastery  with  all  its  appendages,  was  given  to  the  Abbey 
of  Tavistock."f  The  interior  of  the  nave  was  used  by 
the  inhabitants  as  their  burial  place  until  the  last  thirty 
years,  since  which  period  the  dead  have  been  interred  in 
the  ground  around  the  Church. 

Returning  from  the  gardens  you  will  pursue  your  walk 
along  the  road  which  leads  to  the  village.  On  the  right 
lies  one  of  the  beautiful  pools  of  fresh  water,  before 
mentioned,  containing  a  large  quantity  of  eels  and  tench. 
The  two  ponds  cover  a  space  of  fifty  acres.  Straight 
before  you  is  Shipman  Head,  which  is  seen  to  great  ad- 
vantage from  this  road.  In  the  still  calm  of  summer 
it  is  an  object  of  great  interest;  one  fold  of  rock,  as 
it  were,  succeeding  to  another  and  gradually  contracting 
the  view  by  its  nearer  approach  to  the  Northern  side 
of  Tresco.  In  the  rough  storms  of  winter  its  appearance 
is  most  grand;  when  the  great  waves  of  the  Northern 
ocean,  breaking  at  its  base,  dash  their  white  sheets  of  spray 
over  its  highest  ridges,  and  fall  in  foaming  cascades  into  the 
waters  of  the  harbour.  As  you  proceed  along  the  road,  you 
will  observe  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  pond,  a  handsome 
group  of  rocks  perched  finely  on  the  hill,  which  rises  with 
a  gentle  acclivity  from  the  margin  of  the  water.  The  hills 
of  Bryher,  which  you  explored  yesterday,  soon  open  on  your 
left  hand,  and  you  will  recognize  some  of  the  rocks  to  which 
*  Drew.  t  Borlase. 

f     --    •-• 

1  •- 

ISLES    OF    8CILLY.  21 

your  attention  was  then  directed.  The  road  now  skirts  the 
edge  of  the  harbour,  and  leads  you  by  a  most  pleasant  route 
in  the  direction  of  Oliver  Cromwell's  Castle. 

The  group  of  cottages  on  your  right  is  called  "the 
Palace  from  a  house  of  public  entertainment  formerly  kept 
here."*  The  road,  after  you  have  passed  these  houses,  is 
exceedingly  pretty.  It  has  been  very  recently  formed  and 
leads  to  a  convenient  place  of  landing  or  of  embarcation  in 
New  Grimsby.  The  cliff  rises  somewhat  abruptly  on  the 
right;  and  masses  of  rock,  some  large  and  some  small, 
protrude  from  its  green  surface,  and  add  greatly  to  the 
interest  of  the  scene.  The  road  does  not  extend  the  whole 
way  to  the  castle ;  which,  however,  you  will  have  no  difficulty 
in  reaching. 

The  tow^er  is  an  excellent  piece  of  masonry,  "  about  one 
hundred  and  sixty  feet  in  circumference,  and  sixty  feet 
high.  The  walls  are  twelve  feet  thick,  and  raised  on  arches. 
The  roof  is  flat  and  has  a  battery  of  nine-pounders  with  a 
parapet  wall  about  six  feet  thick.  These  might  be  employed 
with  great  effect  in  case  of  emergency,  as  the  situation 
commands  the  harbour  in  every  direction.  At  the  foot  of 
this  building  is  a  stone  platform,  next  the  sea,  having  also 
a  good  parapet  wall  upon  which  some  old  iron  guns  are 

Above  this  tower,  on  the  top  of  the  hill  are  the  remains  of 
another  fort,  called  Charles's  Castle.  A  small  piece  of  the 
original  wall  is  distinctly  visible  ;  and  in  it  are  one  or  two 
embrasures.  Adjoining  it  are  the  ruins  of  a  small  out- 

*  Wood  Icy.  t  Drew. 

22  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

work.  Near  this  spot  about  eighteen  years  ago  an  earthen- 
ware pot  was  discovered,  together  with  some  pieces  of 

The  view  from  this  point  will  at  once  arrest  attention. 
Looking  Southwards,  how  charming  is  the  prospect  of  the 
channel  between  Tresco  and  Bryher.  Hangman  Isle  lies 
immediately  below.  The  hills  of  Bryher  and  its  pretty 
bays  are  on  your  right ;  St.  Agnes  is  seen  in  the  distance ; 
the  Garrison  and  St.  Mary's  somewhat  nearer,  and  many 
other  isles  and  rocks,  with  which  your  eye  is  now  familiar. 
This  is  a  scene  of  great  interest  and  beauty  in  clear,  fine 
weather.  Nor  is  it  less  so,  though  the  interest  be  of  a 
different  character,  in  the  season  of  storm  and  tempest. 
The  high  ground,  on  which  you  are  now  standing,  might 
well  be  chosen  by  those  who  wish  to  see  the  waves  lashed 
into  fury  by  a  storm.  When  the  wind  has  for  some  time 
prevailed  from  the  North  West,  the  sea  rolls  finely  in  upon 
the  rocks  at  the  back  of  Shipman  Head ;  wave  after  wave, 
literally  mountain  high,  breaking  upon  the  iron-bound  coast, 
presents  a  scene  of  great  magnificence  and  awe. 

Being  now  at  Charles's  Castle,  it  should  be  mentioned, 
to  the  honour  of  the  Isles  of  Scilly,  that  this  was  the 
last  place  in  his  dominions,  which  continued  loyal  and 
true  to  the  cause  of  Charles  the  First.  "The  Parliament 
forces  "says  Troutbeck  "under  Admiral  Blake  and  Sir 
George  Ayscue,  intent  upon  reducing  Scilly,  the  last  retreat 
of  the  cavaliers,  took  footing  at  first  in  this  island  of 
Tresco."  This  circumstance  would  seem  to  claim  for  the 
Scillonians  some  such  proof  of  royal  consideration  as  was 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  23 

shewn  by  our  Sovereign  in  the  summer  of  1847.  From 
the  days  of  Athelstan  until  the  present  time,  if  we  except 
the  brief  sojourn  of  the  unfortunate  Charles,  no  British 
monarch  ever  set  foot  upon  the  land  of  Scilly,  until  the 
Queen,  with  her  Royal  Consort  and  the  Prince  of  Wales, 
was  pleased  to  visit  it  in  her  route  to  Scotland.  Nor  can 
we  reflect,  without  much  thankfulness  to  God,  as  the  Author 
and  Giver  of  all  good,  on  the  bright  and  happy  contrast 
afforded  by  the  present  reign  to  the  troublous  times  which 
immediately  preceded  the  commonwealth.  May  our  Queen 
long  reign  in  the  hearts  of  a  free  and  prosperous  people  I 
May  England  long  be  the  home  of  piety,  plenty,  and  peace  ! 
We  will  now  leave  this  beautiful  spot  and  bend  our  steps 
across  the  Downs  to  Piper's  hole,  which  is  at  the  North  East 
point  of  the  island.  It  is  a  work  of  some  toil  and  difficulty  to 
explore  this  curious  cavern ;  and  the  services  of  two  or  more 
of  the  islanders  must  be  engaged,  who  will  provide  a  small 
boat  and  candles  for  your  use.  Some  blue  lights  will  also 
be  required  for  the  purpose  of  a  thorough  inspection  of  the 
cavern.  You  must  be  content  to  clamber  over  fragments  of 
rock  and  stones  for  some  distance ;  but,  with  the  assistance 
of  an  experienced  guide,  you  will  easily  surmount  all 
obstacles,  and  reach  a  pool  of  fresh  water,  when  the  boat 
will  be  called  in  requisition.  The  pool  varies  a  good  deal 
in  its  length,  and  consequently  in  its  depth,  at  the  different 
seasons  of  the  year.  The  distance  across  it,  which  may  be 
called  its  length,  is  generally  between  twelve  and  twenty 
fathoms.  If  there  are  more  than  sixteen  fathoms  of  water  it 
is  impossible  for  visitors  to  be  ferried  over  it.  But  this  is 

24  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

very  rarely  the  case  in  the  summer  months,  when  the  water 
has  been  reduced  to  even  ten  fathoms.  Assuming  then  that 
you  have  been  able  to  cross  the  pool,  you  again  land  and  by 
the  aid  of  the  candles  and  the  blue  lights  gain  some  idea  of 
the  extent  of  the  cave.  Its  inner  recess  is  about  one  hundred 
fathoms  from  the  entrance. 

Woodley  tells  us  that  "  there  are  two  other  remarkable 
caverns  at  the  North  end  of  Tresco,  one  of  which  is  about 
twelve  feet  high,  three  feet  wide,  and  seventy  feet  long." 
This  is  called  by  the  islanders,  Little  Piper's  Hole ;  and 
the  dimensions  given,  are  probably  correct.  He  adds,  "  the 
other  is  twenty  feet  high,  ten  feet  wide,  and  above  two 
hundred  feet  long."  This,  from  the  enquiries  which  I  have 
made,  I  am  induced  to  think  a  considerably  exaggerated 
statement.  At  all  events,  I  am  informed  by  an  intelligent 
pilot,*  wrho  lives  on  Tresco,  that  these  caverns  are  not  worth 
visiting.  Woodley  is,  however,  quite  right  in  saying,  "  On 
the  North  West  side  of  the  hill,  and  about  three  hundred 
yards  from  Piper's  Hole,  is  a  cavern,  called  The  Gun,  the 
length  of  which  is  about  sixty  feet,  where  there  is  a  spring 
of  fresh  water  called  the  Gun- Well,  constantly  running. 

From  Piper's  hole  you  will  have  a  pleasant  walk  along  the 
head  of  Gimble  Bay,  called  Gimble  Porth  by  the  islanders. 
The  waves  roll  finely  in  upon  the  bar  of  sand,  and  break 
around  the  base  of  Golden  Ball,  Menavawr  and  the  other 
rocks,  which  are  seen  from  this  Northern  part  of  Tresco. 
From  Gimble  Bay  you  must  retrace  your  way  to  the  Beacon 
and  the  Town  Hill,  and  thence  to  the  Flag  Staff,  which  is 
planted  on  the  hill  at  the  back  of  the  Parsonage. 
*  John  Ellis. 

ISLES    OF   SCILLY.  25 

The  view  from  the  summit  of  this  hill  must  not  be  omitted 
in  a  description  of  the  beauties  of  Tresco.  The  larger 
pond  of  fresh  water,  the  Abbey,  the  fields  and  the  meadows ; 
and  in  an  opposite  direction  Samson  and  Bryher,  and  the 
waters  of  New  Grimsby  are  seen  to  great  advantage. 

Returning  to  the  road,  a  few  paces  will  bring  you  to  that 
part  of  the  village  called  the  Dolphin ;  "  probably  from  an 
abbreviation  of  the  name  of  the  noble  family  of  Godolphin, 
so  long  proprietors  of  these  islands."*  In  this  central  spot 
stands  the  Church,  a  convenient  and  comfortable  building,  in 
the  form  of  a  cross.  Near  it  are  the  Schools ;  the  Infant 
School,  recently  erected,  is  about  as  far  from  the  Church  in 
the  direction  towards  the  Abbey,  as  the  school  for  the  elder 
children  is  in  the  direction  of  Old  Grimsby,  the  harbour  on 
the  North  Eastern  side  of  this  island. 

On  the  high  ground  to  the  South,  commanding  a  good 
view  of  this  part  of  the  parish,  is  the  Parsonage.  "  It  is 
pleasantly  situated,  although  the  aspect  is  North-North-East, 
and  commands  a  view  of  some  well  cultivated  fields."-f-  The 
Dolphin  fields  are  as  good  land  as  any  in  the  island. 
Boriase  with  his  usual  accuracy  has  thus  noticed  them; 
"the  soil  is  so  very  fruitful,  that  one  field  of  seven  acres 
has  been  in  tillage  every  year  since  the  remembrance  of 
man,  and  carries  exceeding  plentiful  crops." 

Pursuing  the  road  towards  the  harbour  you  will  pass 
upon  your  left  hand  some  excellent  gardens,  which  have 
within  the  last  few  years  been  allotted  by  the  Proprietor 
to  some  of  his  tenants  who  occupy  the  cottages  by  the  road- 

*  Woodley.  t  Boriase. 

26  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

Here  the  Agent  for  the  Trinity  House,  who  also  holds 
other  important  offices,  resides ;  and  a  good  house  is  now 
building  towards  the  North  for  the  Master  of  the  Light- 
Ship  at  the  Seven  Stones.*  This  house  is  most  conveniently 
situated ;  for  from  the  high  ground  above  it  he  can  see  the 
vessel  which  is  entrusted  to  his  charge.  On  this  island 
dwellings  are  provided  for  all  the  men  connected  with  the 
Light-Ship,  that  they  may  be  under  the  immediate  superin- 
tendence of  their  officers. 

The  harbour  of  Old  Grimsby  is  overhung  by  a  cliff,  fifty 
feet  in  height.  Its  northern  extremity  is  Merchant's  Point ; 
and  the  several  fragments  of  rock  which  jut  out  here  and 
there  are  called  Permellin  Cam,  Permellin  Rock,  and  Mer- 
chant's Rock.  On  the  Southern  point  of  the  harbour  is  the 
Old  Blockhouse,  "  twenty  eight  feet  in  length  and  twenty 
two  feet  in  breadth."f  This  battery,  if  put  into  an  efficient 
state,  would  be  a  serviceable  means  of  defence  to  the  harbour 
in  time  of  war.  There  is,  at  present,  only  one  gun. 

I  must  not  fail  to  observe  that  the  approach  to  this 
harbour  from  the  sea  is  exceedingly  pretty;  the  bay,  at 
the  head  of  which  are  the  boat-house,  belonging  to  the 
Coast  Guard,  and  several  cottages  which  give  a  cheerful 
aspect  to  the  place,  being  seen  to  great  advantage;  and 
the  rocky  cliff,  of  which  I  have  spoken,  supplying  no 
inappropriate  back  ground. 

At  this  part  of  the  island,  the  visiter  should  again  embark 
at  the  little  Pier  which  he  will  find  convenient  for  his  use, 
and  sail  in  a  Northerly  course.  The  first  islet  which  he  will 

•  For  a  fuller  notice  of  the  Seven  Stones,  see  the  Fourth  Excursion. 
t  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  27 

pass  is  Northwithiel ;  and  steering  to  the  South  of  Golden 
Ball,  which  "  is  nearly  joined  to  St.  Helen's  by  a  ridge  of 
rocks,"*  he  will  approach  Menavawr,  the  finest  rock  in 
these  seas.  On  this  he  must  land,  if  it  be  practicable. 
The  most  accessible  part  of  the  rock  is  at  the  South  West 
end.  If  he  is  so  fortunate  as  to  effect  a  landing,  he  will 
find  it  hard  indeed,  but  not  so  difficult  as  at  first  sight 
appears,  to  mount  its  abrupt  and  precipitous  sides.  From 
the  boat  it  seems  to  forbid  the  thought  of  scaling  its  summit, 
and  to  afford  a  secure  and  inaccessible  retreat  to  the  wild 
birds  which  here  lay  their  eggs  in  great  number.  But  there 
is  no  danger  in  the  attempt  to  clamber  up  its  rugged  surface. 
With  the  help  of  a  friendly  hand  you  may  easily  reach  the 
top,  which  is  at  the  least  a  hundred  feet  above  the  level  of 
the  sea.  The  rock  is  distinguished  by  three  high  peaks,  of 
which  one  is  separated  from  the  other  two  by  a  rift  or  chasm, 
through  which  at  high  water  and  in  very  calm  weather  a 
boat  may  shoot.  There  is,  indeed,  a  channel  between  the 
other  parts  of  this  rock.  John  Ellis,  the  Proprietor's  chief 
boatman,  who  has  corrected  my  information  upon  this  point, 
tells  me,  however,  that  he  is  the  only  man  in  Scilly  who  has 
ventured  to  take  a  boat  through  this  second  channel. 

The  more  you  survey  this  magnificent  rock,  the  more 
will  you  admire  its  grand  and  beautiful  proportions;  and 
you  will  acknowledge  that  a  visit  to  Menavawr  is  one  of  the 
chief  things  to  be  accomplished  by  those  who  wish  to  see 
the  noblest  scenery  of  the  isles.  When  you  have  sufficiently 
explored  its  rugged  sides  and  highest  points  you  should 

•  Woodley. 

28  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

re-embark  and  desire  your  helmsman  to  steer  you  round  it. 
Vicucd  from  the  water  on  its  Northern  side  it  is  peculiarly 

Leaving  Menavawr  you  should  sail  to  Round  Island, 
where  the  Puffins  breed;  and,  having  examined  its  bold 
and  rocky  sides,  sail  through  the  gap  leading  into  St.  Helen's 

The  island  from  which  these  waters  derive  their  name, 
appears  to  have  been  formerly  inhabited.     Troutbeck  says 
"There  are  the  ruins  of  a  church  upon  this  island,  which 
is  the  most  ancient  Christian  building  in  all  the  islands.     It 
consists  of  a  South  aisle  twenty  one   feet  and  six  inches 
long,  by  fourteen  feet  and  three  inches  wide,  from  which  two 
arches,  low  and  of  an   uncouth  style,  open  into  a  North 
aisle,  twelve  feet  wide,  by  nineteen  feet  and  six  inches  long. 
There  are  two  windows  in  each  aisle  formed  in  the  most 
rustic  manner ;  and  there  is  a  stone  jutting  out,  near  the 
Kastern  window  in  the  North  aisle  like  a  platform,  on  which, 
it  is  supposed  by  some,  the  image  of  the   saint   stood  to 
\\  horn  the  church  was  dedicated.     If  this  conjecture  be  true, 
the  stone  must  have  been  placed  there  long  after  the  Church 
was  founded,  for  it  is  undoubtedly  much  older  than  image 
worship,  which  was  not  known  in  England  till  the  latter  end 
of  the  eighth  or  the  beginning  of  the  ninth  century.     It  is 
probable  some  priests  or  monks  used   to   reside   near   the 
c-hurt-h,   for  there   are  still    the   remains    of   houses    built 
in  the  form  of  cloisters."     In   these   conjectures  Woodley 
agrees,  "  and  from  the  contiguity  of  this  island  to  Tresco, 
'IVan,   and   St.  Martin's,   I    presume"  he   says  "that  the 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  29 

inhabitants  of  these  places  resorted  to  St.  Helen's  for  public 
worship,  before  they  had  churches  of  their  own.  The  site 
of  St.  Helen's  Church  was  well  chosen.  It  stood  on  a 
sloping  ground,  being  sheltered  by  a  long  high  hill  from  the 
fury  of  a  Northern  gale,  and  opening  to  St.  Mary's  Road 
(edged  round,  and,  as  it  were  inclosed,  by  islands)  on  the 
South."  It  is  difficult  to  speak  with  any  certainty  as  to  the 
buildings  formerly  standing  on  this  interesting  isle.  There 
is  a  small  portion  of  the  original  wall  yet  remaining ;  but 
the  far  greater  part  of  that  now  standing  is  evidently  of  very 
recent  erection,  being  loosely  put  together  without  cement  of 
any  kind. 

St.  Helen's  is  now  uncultivated,  and  the  only  building 
upon  it  is  the  Pest  House,  which  is  opened  to  receive 
patients  from  vessels  under  quarantine.  Goats  and  deer 
seem  to  claim  the  island  as  their  domain.  These  animals 
watch  from  the  higher  points  of  rock  those  who  land  upon 
their  territory,  and  are  ill  at  ease  until  they  see  them  again 
retiring  to  their  boat.  But  the  visiter  will  do  well  to  make 
the  circuit  of  this  isle.  There  are  many  fine  masses  of  rock 
upon  it.  Those  immediately  above  the  Pest  House  princi- 
pally deserve  notice;  but  others  towards  the  North  are 
exceedingly  bold.  On  the  Northern  side  of  the  isle,  directly 
opposite  Hound  Island,  there  is  a  fine  chasm  in  the  rocks, 
through  which  the  sea  rushes  with  great  force,  finding  for 
itself  a  channel  of  scarcely  less  than  one  hundred  and  fifty 
feet  in  length.  This  place  it  is  worth  while  to  explore.  On 
the  isle,  just  above  the  innermost  recesses  of  the  chasm,  is  a 
little  chamber  richly  adorned  with  Asplenium  Marinum. 

30  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

Menavawr  is  seen  to  great  advantage  from  St.  Helen's ; 
and  as  you  walk  along  the  North-west  side  of  the  isle,  and 
look  towards  New  Grimsby,  the  houses  in  that  part  of 
Tresco,  with  the  boats  and  vessels  riding  peacefully  on  those 
calm  waters,  and  the  rocks  and  islets  in  every  direction, 
present  a  scene  of  beauty  and  of  interest  scarcely  inferior  to 
any  which  the  isles  afford. 

The  opposite  shores  of  Tean,  between  St.  Helen's  and 
St  Martin's,  next  invite  your  attention.     For  the  name  of 
this   island   Woodley  claims  a  Greek  origin.     He  calls  it 
"  Tean,  properly  Theon,  and  hence,  evidently  of  Grecian  deno- 
mination."    The  shape  of  this  island  is  very  irregular ;  and 
it  has  consequently  several  beautiful  bays.     "  On  the  North 
side  of  the  island  I  saw  a  chasm  in  the  rock  similar  to  that 
in  White  Island,  but  much  smaller."  *     As  the  boat  nears 
the  shore,  you  will  at  once  perceive  that  this  Isle  is  a  preserve 
of  white  rabbits ;  which,  here  coiled  up  like  a  ball  of  snow, 
and  there  coursing  over  the  hill,  give  a  charming  variety  to  the 
scene.    "Here"  writes  Mr.  Woodley  "are  several  remarkable 
earns.     Near  one  of  these  (called   Yellow  Carn)  are   the 
vestiges  of  a  Druidical  circle.    Great  Hill  is  a  lofty  eminence 
of  singular  abruptness,  especially  towards  the  North.    A  high 
rock  called   Penbrose  (from  the  Cornu-British  appellation 
Pedn  Brauze,  signifying  the  high  head  land)  lies  about  fifty 
yards  to  the  North  of  this  Island.     The  passage  between 
Tean  and  St.  Martin's  is  called  Te'an  Sound.     It  is  studded 
with  rocks  and  ledges  on  each  side,  but  has  a  good  depth  of 
water  in  the  middle,  and  may  be  safely  used  by  a  skilful 

*  Woodlev. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  31 

From  the  high  ground  of  Tean  the  Light  Ship  at  the  Seven- 
Stones  is  distinctly  seen  in  clear  weather.  Beyond  it  East- 
ward, the  Land's  End.  Towards  Tresco,  the  Harbour  of 
Old  Grimsby  and  St.  Helen's  Pool:  on  your  left  is  St. 
Martin's ;  and  at  its  Southern  extremity  the  pretty  group  of 
the  Eastern  Isles.  Far  away  to  the  West  is  St.  Agnes  and 
Annet ;  while  nearer  in  the  same  direction  lies  the  coast  of 
St.  Mary's,  and  the  harbour;  the  Pier  and  the  Garrison. 
Here  is  a  combination  of  objects  similar  to  that  which  you 
saw  on  Bryher,  and  yet  so  different  in  their  relative  situation 
that  the  prospect  has  all  the  charms  of  variety,  if  not  of 

From  this  Isle  you  may  embark  on  your  return  to  St. 
Mary's.  Direct  the  helmsman  to  take  the  boat  sufficiently 
near  to  the  Hedge  Rock,  in  your  course  to  the  Pool,  to  give 
you  a  good  view  of  its  form  and  dimensions. 

(t'ljirli  (Birnrainn. 

WE  propose  as  the  object  of  this  excursion,  St.  Agnes 
and  the  Western  Isles.  It  will  depend  upon  the  tide  and 
other  circumstances  whether  the  tourist  first  explore  St. 
Agnes  and  Annet  on  his  route  to  the  Western  Isles  and 
Rocks,  or  make  a  cruise  to  the  Bishop  and  Rosevear 
with  its  cluster  of  isles,  taking  St.  Agnes  on  his  return. 
This  latter  plan  will  have  the  advantage  of  bringing  him 
nearer  home  before  the  day  light  fails. 

Starting  then  as  early  as  may  be,  the  visiter  will  have  a 
pleasant  sail  to  the  Bishop.  We  will  reserve  all  notice  of 
the  Garrison,  St.  Agnes,  and  Annet,  until  we  are  able  to 
examine  them  more  carefully.  At  a  distance  about  two  miles 
from  Annet  Head  lies  Crebawetlmn ;  and  almost  united  with 
it  towards  the  West  is  another  islet  distinguished  by  the  name 
of  Little  Crebawethan.  It  was  upon  these  rocks  that  the 
Douro  was  wrecked  on  the  28th  of  January,  1843,  and  all 
her  crew  perished. 

To   the   North   of  Crebawethan,    where    the   waves   ;nv 

34  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

breaking,  is  the  Gunner;  and,  yet  further  in  the  same  direc- 
tion, the  Nundeeps,  rocks  which  make  the  passage  through 
Broad  Sound  hazardous  to  those  who  are  inexperienced  in 
these  seas.  On  the  21st  of  November  in  the  same  year  in 
which  the  Douro  was  lost,  a  Schooner  from  Smyrna,  bound 
to  London,  struck  upon  the  Gunner.  She  became  a  total 
wreck.  The  vessel  and  cargo  were  all  lost.  The  crew  took 
to  their  boat;  and,  through  God's  mercy,  safely  reached 
the  shores  of  Bryher  in  the  night. 

There  is  no  danger  in  approaching  the  Bishop  after  you 
have  passed  between  Crebawethan  and  Round  Rock  which 
lies  a  little  to  the  North  West ;  though  unless  the  weather 
is  very  fine  and  calm,  it  will  be  a  matter  of  great  difficulty 
and  of  some  risk  to  land  upon  it.  The  intended  position  of 
the  Light-House  is  certainly  as  picturesque  as  it  is  perilous 
and  solitary. 

When  this  work  was  nearly  ready  for  the  press,  a  great 
and  most  unexpected  disaster  happened,  which  may,  in  the 
judgment  of  some,  seem  to  call  for  a  revision  and  amend- 
ment of  this  excursion.  During  a  very  severe  gale  between 
eleven,  p.  m.,  of  the  fifth,  and  three,  a.  m.,  of  the  sixth  of 
February,  the  Light-House  was  swept  from  the  rock.  It 
appears  that  the  cast  iron  pillars  on  which  the  Light  was  to 
have  been  placed  were  broken  by  the  combined  force  of  the 
wind  and  the  water. 

I  have  not,  however,  deemed  it  necessary  to  withdraw  the 
notice  of  the  works  which  had  so  nearly  reached  completion ; 
nor  the  pretty  view  which  forms  the  frontispiece.  Many 
tourists  will,  I  have  little  doubt,  be  the  more  anxious  to  visit 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  35 

a  rock,  to  which  something  of  a  romantic  interest  will 
henceforth  attach.  At  all  events  the  view  which  is  here 
given  will  contribute  to  preserve  in  remembrance  the  attempt 
which  had  been  made,  at  no  small  cost  and  trouble,  to  afford 
security  to  vessels  navigating  these  seas.  The  drawing  of 
Lady  Sophia  Tower,  made  partly  from  the  engraving  which 
appeared  in  the  Illustrated  London  News  of  November 
24th,  1849,  and  partly  from  her  Ladyship's  own  sketch, 
represents  the  Light-House  exactly  as  it  was  left  by  Mr. 
Douglas  in  the  autumn  of  1849;  and,  consequently,  "as  it 
appeared  previous  to  its  total  destruction  in  the  terrific 
storm"  of  February.  It  was,  in  fact,  completed  as  far  as 
the  Lanthorn,  which  would  have  formed  the  roof  of  the 
house  designed  for  the  Light-keepers.  Since  the  gale  the 
rock  has  been  minutely  examined.  It  is  entirely  sound  and 
unshaken;  no  rent,  nor  seam,  nor  any  flaw  is  discernible 
in  it. 

The  following  description  taken  from  the  Newspaper 
before  alluded  to,  will,  it  has  been  thought,  be  generally 
read  with  interest.  "The  works  are  carried  on  by  Mr. 
Douglas  for  the  Honourable  Corporation  of  Trinity  House, 
under  the  superintendence  of  Messrs.  Walker  and  Burges, 
the  eminent  engineers.  The  Light-House  is  formed  of  cast- 
iron  columns,  braced  and  stayed  with  wrought-iron  rods. 
The  columns  are  sunk  into  the  rock,  and  the  ingress  to  the 
Ijiiht  is  by  the  interior  of  the  centre  column  to  the  hopper, 
over  which,  and  under  the  gallery,  are  the  living-room, 
store,  &c..  It  is  upwards  of  120  feet  high,  and  twenty  feet 
higher  than  the  far-famed  Kddystone,  and  is  peculiarly 

36  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

adapted  (notwithstanding  its  apparent  lightness)  to  with- 
stand the  heavy  seas  which  fall  in  at  that  point,  as  from  its 
construction  the  sea  passes  through  without  taking  any  hold 
in  comparison  as  it  does  when  meeting  the  solid  body.  It  is 
likewise  well  placed,  inasmuch  as  the  light  can  be  seen  about 
thirty  miles,  thereby  giving  the  homeward-bound  vessels  a 
good  offing  so  as  to  enable  them  to  run  up  the  English  or 
Bristol  Channels,  as  circumstances  may  require;  thus 
affording  a  great  advantage  over  the  St.  Agnes  Light, 
which,  being  so  much  nearer  the  main  land,  renders  the 
approach  in  bad  weather  much  more  dangerous.  The  centre 
column  is  about  three  feet,  six  inches  diameter,  and  the 
entrance  door  is  about  eight  feet  above  the  levelled  part  of 
the  rock.  The  view,  here  given,  is  taken  at  low  water,  and 
at  high  water  the  rock  is  covered  to  within  two  feet  of  the 
foot  of  the  centre  column.  The  rock  is  situated  about  eight 
or  ten  miles  Westward  of  the  Land's  End."  The  last 
sentence  in  this  account,  it  is  unnecessary  to  inform  those 
who  are  acquainted  with  the  geography  of  the  Isles,  is 
obviously  incorrect.  The  Bishop  is  about  thirty  two  miles 
from  the  Land's  End,  and  lies  West  South  West  from  it. 

At  a  distance  of  one  mile  and  a  half  from  the  Bishop,  in 
a  Northerly  direction,  are  the  Grim  Rocks.  They  lie  a  very 
little  more  to  the  West ;  and  it  is  to  be  hoped,  that  if  ever  a 
Light  is  placed  upon  the  Bishop,  it  will  give  sufficient  notice 
of  the  presence  of  danger,  to  secure  vessels  coming  in  that 
direction  from  striking  upon  them.  Several  have,  it  is  well 
known,  been  wrecked  upon  these  out-lying  rocks;  and  the 
boon  therefore,  will  be  the  greater,  of  having  a  warning 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  37 

Light  placed  as  near  to  them  as  possible. 

From  the  Bishop  you  must  direct  your  boat  towards 
Kosevear;  noting  as  you  sail  along,  the  ledges  and  shoals 
and  rocks  which  abound  in  these  seas,  and  which  have  made 
the  Isles  of  Scilly  an  object  of  so  great  terror.  When  you 
survey  the  network  of  rocks  by  which  you  are  surrounded, 
and  remember  that  there  are  many,  partially  or  altogether 
hidden  from  view,  which  would  prove  fatal  to  any  vessel 
driven  on  them,  you  will  not  wonder  at  the  dread  which  so 
universally  prevails,  and  the  anxiety  of  all  seamen  to  give 
Scilly  a  wide  berth.  Your  best  course  will  be  to  sail 
Eastwards  to  Crebawethan,  so  far  returning  in  the  track  you 
came.  The  swell  of  the  Western  sea  makes  it  difficult  and 
hazardous  to  sail  towards  the  South  of  Kosevear  from  the 
Bishop.  As  soon  as  you  have  passed  Crebawethan,  you 
must  steer  South-South  East.  You  will  soon  see  Jacky's 
Rock,  memorable  for  the  wreck  of  "The  Thames"  Steamer, 
on  the  morning  of  the  fourth  of  January,  1841,  when  on 
her  passage  from  Dublin  to  London.  The  weather  at  the 
time  was  most  unfavourable  to  any  attempt  to  render 
assistance.  When  the  calamity  was  discovered  by  the 
pilots  on  St.  Agnes,  the  wind  was  blowing  North  West  to 
North-North-East,  with  heavy  storms  of  hail  and  rain 
mingled  with  snow.  It  was,  therefore,  impossible  to  afford 
any  effectual  aid;  and  out  of  sixty-five  persons  only  four 
were  saved.  Such  recollections  give  a  strange  and  melan- 
choly interest  to  the  scene  around  you,  and  suggest  reflections 
which  no  thoughtful  mind  would  desire  to  banish.  The 
records  kept  at  the  Light-House  on  St.  Agnes,  to  which 

38  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

I  have  had  access  through  the  kindness  of  the  Agent  for 
the  Trinity  House,  preserve  the  remembrance  of  other 
shipwrecks  on  these  dangerous  rocks,  not  perhaps  so  awfully 
fatal  but  accompanied  with  great  loss  of  life ;  while  many, 
oh  !  how  many,  of  whom  we  have  never  heard,  have  through 
ignorance  or  carelessness  "sunk  as  lead  in  the  mighty 
waters."  We  hail  with  joy  and  gratitude  every  well-con- 
sidered attempt  to  make  this  navigation  more  safe ;  and  the 
very  rocks  are  eloquent  in  bidding  us  to  live  as  we  would 
\\i-h  to  die,  in  urging  us  to  "prepare  to  meet  our  God." 

The  long  reef  of  rocks  at  your  side  is  called  "  The  Ponds." 
Uosevear  is  still  to  the  South,  separated  from  The  Ponds  by 
a  channel  called  Santaspery  Neck.  Upon  a  rock  close  by 
this  Xeck,  a  schooner  belonging  to  Plymouth  and  laden  with 
wheat,  struck  on  the  27th  of  March,  1849.  She  became  a 
total  wreck ;  but  the  crew  were  happily  saved  and  brought 
on  shore  by  some  of  the  intrepid  inhabitants  of  St.  Agnes. 
From  Rosevear  you  will  be  glad  to  survey  at  leisure  the  isles 
and  rocks  in  the  midst  of  which  it  stands.  On  it  were 
erected  the  temporary  dwellings  of  the  workmen  engaged  in 
building  the  Light-House  on  the  Bishop,  which  are  still 
standing.  You  will  be  repaid  for  the  trouble  of  walking 
and  scrambling  over  Rosevear  by  a  nearer  view  of  the 
masses  of  rock  which  lie  around  you,  and  which  the  waters 
of  the  great  western  ocean  are  continually  chafing. 

The  Dutch  barque,  "Nubicto,"  on  her  passage  from 
Batavia  to  Rotterdam,  struck  upon  one  of  the  sunken  rocks 
to  the  South  West  of  Rosevear,  on  the  21st  of  February, 
1844.  She  was  totally  wrecked ;  and  two  only  of  the  crew 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  39 

escaped.  Their  preservation  was  remarkable.  They  con- 
trived to  reach  Rosevear,  where  they  passed  many  hours  in 
a  state  of  fearful  anxiety  and  suspense.  The  weather  was 
very  thick  and  hazy;  and  their  signals  of  distress  were 
unnoticed.  Providentially,  on  the  following  day  they  were 
discovered,  and  released  from  their  dismal  situation.  It  is 
but  right  to  add,  that  their  melancholy  case  awakened  the 
sympathies  of  the  Islanders,  and  elicited  substantial  acts  of 
kindness,  which  the  gratitude  of  the  sufferers  well  repaid. 

Close  to  Rosevear  towards  the  South,  is  Rosevean,  and  at 
some  little  distance  South  West,  the  Gilstone,  on  which  Sir 
Cloudesley  Shovel  was  wrecked  on  the  22nd  of  October, 
1707.  "Returning  from  Toulon  in  company  with  many 
other  ships  of  war,  in  which  were  several  distinguished  per- 
sonages, he  came  into  soundings  on  the  morning  of  the  22nd 
of  October,  1707,  and  found  his  ship  in  nineteen  fathoms 
of  water.  The  weather  at  this  time  was  thick  and  foggy, 
and  the  wind  blowing  strong;  which,  with  the  supposition 
that  they  were  nearing  the  land,  induced  him  to  make  signal 
for  the  fleet  to  lay  to.  At  six  in  the  evening  the  admiral 
made  sail  again,  and  was  followed  by  the  rest  of  his  fleet. 
This  had  scarcely  been  done  before  he  hoisted  signals  of 
danger,  which  were  repeated  by  several  other  ships,  as  a 
\\  .lining  to  those  at  a  distance  to  keep  off  to  sea.  Sir  George 
Byng,  in  the  Royal  Anne,  who  was  at  this  time  about  half 
a  mile  to  windward  of  him,  saw  the  breakers,  and  soon  after- 
wards the  rocks.  His  safety  depended  on  the  energies  of 
a  moment;  for  so  near  was  his  ship  to  a  dangerous  rock 
called  the  Trenemer,  as  to  have  it  under  his  main  chains, 


A    WEEK    IN    THE 

and  as  the  ship  passed,  it  knocked  off  the  larboard  quarter 
gallery,  but  happily  he  escaped  without  sustaining  any  furtb 


"About  eight  o'clock  at  night,  the  admiral's   ship,  t 
Association,  struck  upon  the  Oilstone  with  so  much  violence, 
that  in  about  two  minutes  the  vessel  went  down,  and  every 
soul  on  board,  but  one,  perished.     This    man  saved  himself 
on  a  piece  of  timber,  which  floated  to  a  rock  called  the 
Hellweathers,  where  he  was  compelled  to  remain  some  days, 
before  he  could  receive  any  assistance.     Besides  the  Asso- 
ciation, the  Eagle  of  70    guns,  Capt.  Hancock,  and  the 
Romney  of  50  guns,  Capt.  Cory,  perished  with  all  their 
crews.     The  Firebrand  fire-ship  was  also  lost,  but  Capt. 
Percy  who  commanded   her,   and  most   of  his  men  were 
saved.    The  Phrenix  fireship,  Capt.  Hansom,  ran  on  shore, 
but  was  afterwards  got  off.     The  St.  George,  commanded 
by  Lord  Dursley,  seems  to  have  escaped  miraculously.     She 
struck  on  the  same  rocks  with  the  admiral,  but  the  very 
same  wave  that  beat  out  the  lights  of  the  Association,  lifted 
the  St.  George  from  the  rocks,  and  set  her  afloat  again. 

"  Besides  the  admiral,  there  perished  on  this  occasion, 
Capt.  Lodes  of  the  Association,  Sir  John  Narborough  and 
his  brother  James,  sons  of  Lady  Shovel  by  a  former  husband ; 
Mr.  Trelawney,  eldest  son  to  the  Bishop  of  Winchester,  and 
about  2000  men."* 

When  you  have  sufficiently  explored  these  Western  Rocks, 
reposing  now  so  tranquilly  on  the  surface  of  the  deep,  but 
in  the  winter  wild  of  storm  and  tempest  so  full  of  threatening 


ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  41 

and  dismay  to  the  fearful  mariner,  you  must  direct  your 
course  towards  Annet.  The  isle  to  the  East  of  Rosevean 
is  Gorn-^un,  and  between  the  two,  are  high  rocks  called 
the  Hags.  A  single  rock  lies  within  Gorregan,  named 
the  Biggal.  North  East  from  Gorregan  is  Meledgan;* 
and  between  this  and  Annet,  are  an  almost  countless  multi- 
tude of  rocks,  which  may  well  make  you  anxious  to 
muM^r  the  services  of  a  trusty  pilot,  who  from  his  boyhood 
has  been  conversant  with  these  perilous  waters. 

Sailing  by  the  reef  of  rocks  called  Hellwethers,  and  land- 
ing on  the  South  East  point  of  Annet,  you  should  direct 
your  steps  towards  the  North  Western  extremity  of  the  isle, 
called  Annet  Head.  Here  the  rocks  are  of  a  fine,  pictur- 
esque character ;  and  you  will  be  the  more  pleased  to  examine 
them,  as  they  form  so  prominent  a  feature  in  the  view  from 
the  other  isles. 

In  the  histories  of  Troutbeck  and  Woodley,  mention  is 
made  of  a  "  singular  chasm  "  in  the  North  East  extremity 
of  Annet,  called  Lake  Anthown,  which  the  tourist  will  not 
therefore  wish  to  pass  unnoticed.  Woodley  describes  it  as 
"  about  forty  yards  long,  from  three  to  four  wide,  and  seven 
deep  as  far  as  has  been  traced."  Troutbeck  speaks  of  it 
as  "  about  forty  yards  long,  near  ten  feet  wide,  and  about 

*  To  give  the  reader  some  idea  of  the  dangers  caused  to  navigation  by 
the  presence  of  these  rocks,  I  have  mentioned  two  or  three  vessels,  which 
are  known  to  have  been  wrecked  upon  them.  On  the  llth  of  February, 
1*1'2,  such  a  calamity  happened  on  or  near  Meledgan.  At  daylight  the 
top-Lrallant  mast  of  a  brig  appeared  above  water,  a  little  inside  this  Isle. 
She  proved  to  be  the  "  William  Proben,"  of  South  Shields,  laden  with 
wheat,  und  it  is  supposed  that  she  struck  on  one  of  the  Southernmost  rocks. 
No  exact  information  could  be  gained  on  this  subject,  as,  alas !  all  the 
crew  perished. 

42  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

twenty  feet  deep."  He  adds  that  it  "  is  supposed  to  have 
been  an  old  iron  mine,  because  the  rocks  here  have  the 
appearance  of  iron  ore."  The  visiter,  who  expects  from  this 
description  to  see  anything  remarkable  at  this  place,  will  be 
disappointed.  There  is,  certainly,  no  sufficient  evidence  that 
it  was  ever  worked  as  a  mine.  Annet  is  not  inhabited.  It 
contains  about  forty  acres,  which  afford  some  tolerable 
pasturage  for  a  few  head  of  cattle.  From  this  island  you 
will  gain  a  closer  view  of  the  Great  Smith,  a  remarkably 
fine  rock,  lifting  as  it  were  its  head  out  of  the  deep  waters. 
It  is  especially  bold  on  the  Western  side,  and  serves  as  a 
mark  for  different  places,  chiefly  perhaps  for  the  North- 
West  passage  of  the  Broad  Sound.  That  rock  to  the  South- 
East  is  the  Little  Smith. 

From  Annet  the  distance  is  but  short  across  Smith's  Sound 
to  St.  Agnes.  You  will  land  at  Priglis  Bay,  near  the  Church, 
which,  as  I  conceive  has  given  its  name  to  the  bay.  It  is 
not  unlikely,  that  Priglis  is  derived  from  Port  Eglise,  or 
Portus  Ecclesiae;  and  in  more  senses  surely  than  one  is  the 
name  appropriate.  Not  a  few,  who  have  been  wrecked  upon 
the  rocks  which  you  have  been  exploring,  and  whose  bodies 
have  been  afterwards  recovered,  lie  in  this  humble  church  yard ; 
and  many,  we  may  hope,  have  visited  the  church,  to  present 
their  offerings  of  praise  to  Him,  who  has  preserved  their  life 
from  destruction,  in  the  midst  of  the  foaming  billows. 

Troutbeck  and  Woodley  call  this  rocky  inlet  Pericles  Bay, 
and  the  latter  adds  "  this  denomination  of  itself,  would  go  far 
to  settle  the  point  of  the  original  commerce  of  the  Island. 
At  present  however,  this  bay  is  generally  known  by  the  name 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  43 

of  Forth  Nicholas,  or  the  still  more  barbarous,  though  not 
equally  distant,  corruption  of  Prigless. "  In  the  map  the 
more  elegant,  and  I  have  no  doubt  the  more  correct  designa- 
tion Priglis  is  adopted;  and  by  this  name  I  have  always 
heard  the  bay  called.  In  the  fields  behind  this  bay  some 
urns  or  pots  have,  in  digging  the  earth,  been  discovered. 

In  Drew's  history  of  Cornwall  there  is  a  singular  account 
of  the  origin  of  this  church,  which  deserves  to  be  mentioned. 
"In  the  year  1685"  he  says  "a  French  Vessel  struck 
upon  the  rocks,  and  being  found  without  any  one  on  board 
by  the  inhabitants  of  St.  Agnes  who  repaired  immediately 
to  her  assistance,  she  was  taken  possession  of,  and  with 
some  exertion  conducted  to  St.  Mary's  Here  she  was 
claimed  by  the  captain,  who  with  the  rest  of  his  crew  had 
safely  arrived  thither  in  their  boats.  For  saving  this  vessel 
the  islanders  received  a  considerable  sum,  and  being  at  that 
time  without  any  place  of  worship  they  agreed,  with  a 
unanimity  that  did  honour  to  their  piety,  to  appropriate  the 
money  to  the  building  of  a  church,  which  was  accordingly 
done."  The  present  church  is  of  very  recent  date,  having 
been  built  rather  more  than  forty  years.  The  church,  which 
stood  previously  at  the  North  West  corner  of  the  burial 
around,  was  of  much  smaller  extent;  and  that,  in  which 
divine  service  was  at  a  yet  earlier  period  performed,  was 
built  on  the  site  of  the  cottages  which  are  on  the  South 
West  side  of  the  church  yard. 

Keeping  at  the  back  of  the  church  and  near  the  i-ea, 
you  will  be  able  to  make  your  way  with  little  ditlieulty 
round  this  part  of  the  island.  The  nicks  which  form  the 

44  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

cliff  are  very  picturesque  and  beautiful.  As  you  approach 
Camberdril  point  you  will  be  struck  with  their  size  and 
peculiar  character.  Different  in  this  respect  from  most  of 
the  groups  in  Scilly,  they  shoot  up  into  sharp  points ;  and  as 
you  can  approach  them  on  all  sides  they  seem  to  invite  a 
minute  and  careful  examination. 

The  high  earn  which  next  presents  itself  is  Castlebean ; 
and  from  it  you  will  quickly  reach  St.  Warna  Bay,  of  which 
the  legend  is,  that  it  derives  its  name  from  a  saint  who 
landed  at  this  spot  from  Ireland.  "The  ancient  inhabitants 
of  this  island,"  says  Troutbeck,  "  used  to  invoke  St.  Warna 
as  their  benefactress  in  times  of  distress,  whom  they  sup- 
posed to  be  instrumental  in  sending  wrecks  and  in  directing 
and  presiding  over  their  good  fortune.  St.  Warna's  Well  is 
now  filled  up,  lest  the  cattle  or  sheep  should  push  one  another 
into  it  when  they  came  to  drink. "  ! !  This  account  there  is 
every  reason  to  believe,  is  purely  fabulous.  The  famed  wi-ll 
is  now  at  least  a  mere  hole ;  and  it  admits  of  a  question, 
notwithstanding  this  tradition,  whether  it  was  ever  any  thing 

Near  this  bay  upon  somewhat  higher  ground  is  a  curious 
rock,  called  the  Nag's  Head.  Pursuing  your  way  at  this 
Southern  side  of  St  Agnes  you  will  pass  in  succession 
fine  promontories  of  rock  jutting  out  into  the  sea,  and  warm, 
sunny  coves  or  bays.  Each  of  these  beautiful  earns,  which 
gird  the  island,  has  its  particular  designation  :  but  it  would 
be  wearisome  and  useless  to  enquire  names,  forgotten  as 
soon  as  heard.  Many  of  them  are  given  in  the  map  from 
which  the  orthography  of  names  and  places  in  this  book  is 


taken.  You  must  not  fail,  however,  to  see  the  Punch  Bowl, 
a  curious  rock  on  the  Wingletang  Downs,  to  the  South  East 
of  the  Light  House.  This  rock  Woodley  supposes  to  be 
the  Logan-stone  on  St.  Agnes  described  by  Borlase ;  and  of 
which  he  says  that  "  its  oscillatory  powers  might  probably 
be  easily  restored."  The  reader  may  be  pleased  to  have  an 
opportunity  of  reading  the  passage  from  Borlase's  Antiquities 
of  Cornwall  which  refers  to  this  rock. 

"  There  is  a  very  remarkable  Stone  of  this  kind  on  the 
Island  of  St.  Agnes  in  Scilly.  The  under  rock  is  ten  foot 
six  high,  47  feet  in  circumference  round  the  middle,  and 
touches  the  ground  with  no  more  than  half  its  base.  The 
upper  Rock  rests  on  one  point  only,  so  nice,  that  two  or 
three  men,  with  a  Pole,  can  move  it ;  it  is  eight  feet  six  high, 
and  47  in  girt.  On  the  top  is  a  large  Basin,  three  feet  1 1 
in  diameter,  (at  a  medium)  at  the  brim  wider,  and  three  foot 
deep :  by  the  globular  shape  of  this  upper  Stone,  I  guess 
that  it  has  been  rounded  by  art  at  least,  if  it  was  not  plac'd 
on  the  hollow  surface  of  the  rock  it  rests  upon  by  human 
force,  which  to  me  appears  not  unlikely." 

The  deep  bay  on  the  Southern  side  of  St.  Agnes,  whose 
waters  at  spring  tides  mingle  with  those  of  the  Western 
Ocean  flowing  into  Perconger,  over  the  bar  of  sand  which 
separates  the  Gugh  from  the  main  land  of  St.  Agnes,  is 
called  the  Cove.  It  affords  a  most  happy  and  convenient 
place  for  the  islanders  to  obtain  supplies  of  fish. 

The  inhabitants  of  the  dillerent  Isles  (\\ith    the   exception 
of  those  on  St.  Martin's  and  Treseo,   who  draw  their  nets 
haul    the   rove,   as   the   phrnse  is,  in  turn;   audit 

46  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

usuully  fulls  to  the  lot  of  each  isle  to  haul  twice  in  the 
course  of  the  season.  Not  unfrequently  a  very  large  quantity 
of  fish,  between  eighty  and  one  hundred  and  forty  baskets 
is  secured  in  a  single  night,  each  basket  containing,  on  an 
average,  three  hundred  fish.  The  store,  thus  gathered  from 
the  deep,  forms  a  main  article  of  provisions  for  the  winter. 

Crossing  the  bar  of  sand  the  tourist  should  find  time  for  a 
walk  on  the  Gugh.  Borlase  tells  us  that  the  Gugh  is  "  a 
part  of  Agnes,  and  never  divided  from  it,  but  by  high  and 
boisterous  tides."  This  statement  is  not,  now  at  least,  entirely 
correct.  The  Gugh  is  always  an  island  at  spring  tides,  when 
there  is  a  depth  of  water  on  the  bar,  sufficient  for  a  boat  to 
shoot  across  it. 

Sentinel  at  the  North-West  of  the  Gugh  stands  the  Kittern, 
a  fine  picturesque  rock,  well  worthy  of  notice.  At  the  distance 
of  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  East  by  South  of  the  Kittern 
is  the  Bow.  The  South  Eastern  point  of  land  is  called  on 
the  chart  Dropnose  Point,  from  a  rock  which  bears  that  name 
at  a  small  distance  from  the  shore ;  and  near  to  this,  East- 
wards, is  another  with  equal  propriety  called  Wetnose. 

There  are  several  barrows  upon  the  Gugh.  At  the  North 
West  extremity  the  visitor  will  see  one  between  thirteen  and 
fourteen  feet  long,  four  feet  broad  and  between  two  and 
three  feet  high.  This  lies  on  nearly  the  highest  point  of  that 
part  of  the  Gugh,  just,  at  the  back,  so  to  speak,  of  the 

Two  more  of  these  burial  places  may  be  discovered  on  the 
highest  points  of  laud  towards  the  South  East.  They  are 
not  so  large  as  the  former;  nor  have  they  so  distinctly  the 

.  ••.' 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  47 

marks  of  tombs,  being  nearly  filled  with  soil  and  rubbish. 

Still  further  in  the  same  direction  are  two  other  barrows ; 
one  in  that  heap  of  rocks  which  is  called  The  Works.  The 
origin  of  this  name  I  cannot  definitely  ascertain.  In  the 
opinion  of  some  it  is  derived  from  fortifications  which,  it 
has  been  said,  once  stood  here  ;  but  the  judgment  of  practical 
men  is  against  this  supposition,  as  it  seems  impossible  they 
could  have  been  used  for  artillery. 

The  other  barrow  lies  on  the  high  ground  between  The 
Works  and  the  South  West  extremity  of  the  Gugh.  The 
latter  is  clearly  seen  from  The  Works  and  is  not  at  a  greater 
distance  from  them  than  fifty  or  sixty  yards.  This  the  more 
Southern  barrow  is  between  fourteen  and  fifteen  feet  in 
length,  four  feet  six  inches  in  breadth,  and  one  foot  six 
inches  in  depth.  This  barrow  has  four  top  or  covering  stones. 
Nearly  in  the  centre  of  the  Gugh  is  one  of  those  pillar- 
stones  of  which  I  have  taken  more  especial  notice  in  the 
Sixth  Excursion  and  in  the  Supplemental  Chapter.  This 
stone,  which  is  called  by  the  Islanders  'the  old  man 
cutting  turf  is  nine  feet  in  length  and  seven  feet  in  girth. 
Unlike  in  this  respect  to  those  on  St.  Mary's,  which  stand 
quite  erect,  its  inclination  is  so  great  that  the  top  of  it  is 
not  more  than  six  feet  and  a  half  in  perpendicular  height 
from  the  ground.  For  whatever  purpose  it  may  have 
been  originally  placed,  it  is  now  used  as  a  mark  by  the  pilots 
for  bringing  vessels  safely  into  The  Road  or  Harbour,  free 
of  the  Spanish  ledges,  a  dangerous  reef  at  the  South  Eastern 
entrance  of  St.  Mary's  Sound. 

By  this  time  the  day  will  be  well  nigh  spent,  and  the 

4S  A    WEEK    IX    THE 

visitor  will  scarcely  reach  his  boat,  which  has  been  brought 
round  from  Priglis  to  Perconger,  before  the  sun  sinks  below 
the  horizon.  If,  however,  the  cove  is  to  be  hauled  at  dark, 
he  may  be  induced  to  prolong  his  stay  at  St.  Agnes  until 
midnight ;  and  the  hour  or  two,  which  will  elapse  before  the 
nets  are  drawn,  may  be  well  employed  in  a  visit  to  the  Light- 
House.  It  is  a  revolving  light:  and  the  bright  silver 
reflectors,  the  excellent  order  and  the  careful  superintendence 
of  the  whole  establishment;  the  abundant  supplies  of  all 
that  is  necessary  to  ensure  a  steady,  equable  light,  give  proof 
of  the  zeal  and  liberality  with  which  the  Trinity  brethren 
have  discharged  the  important  duties  confided  to  their  trust. 
From  the  top  of  the  Light  House,  as  you  may  imagine,  you 
would  have  in  the  day  light  a  far  extending  view  of  this 
striking  panorama. 

When  the  hour  fixed  for  hauling  has  arrived,  you  must 
take  up  your  position  on  the  bar  of  sand  which  you  crossed 
to  visit  the  Gugh.  The  net,  which  had  been  spread  at  the 
further  extremity  of  the  cove  is  gradually  drawn  to  the 
shore,  and  its  contents  will  be  deposited  upon  the  sand. 
The  scene  is  altogether  striking.  The  multitude  of  fishes 
bounding  on  the  ground,  the  dimly  burning  lanthorns 
moving  here  and  there,  the  darkness  of  the  night,  for  the 
moon  has  not  yet  risen ;  the  soft  murmur  of  the  waters  and 
the  noisy  splashing  of  the  fish,  concur  to  make  this  midnight 
ursion  novel  and  interesting.  The  fish  taken  are  princi- 
pally scads ;  though  not  unfrequently  you  may  be  fortunate 
enough  to  get  some  red  mullet,  a  salmon  peel  or  other 
choice  fish. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  49 

The  population  of  St.  Agnes  consists  of  fifty  four  families, 
comprising  two  hundred  and  sixty  individuals.  Of  them 
not  fewer  than  fifty  are  generally  absent  at  sea. 


IT  is  proposed  in  to-day's  excursion  to  explore  the  Eastern 
Isles  and  St.  Martin's.  Sailing  from  the  pier  in  a  Northerly 
course  the  first  point  which  invites  the  tourist's  attention  is 
Cam  Morval,  forming  the  North-East  boundary  of  St. 
Mary's  Pool  or  Harbour.  This  fine,  bold  mass  of  rocks  is, 
perhaps,  seen  to  greatest  advantage  from  the  water ;  though, 
when  an  opportunity  offers  of  examining  it  more  leisurely  on 
the  land,  the  visiter  will  be  well  repaid  for  the  trouble. 
Troutbeck  says  that  "  on  the  East  and  South  sides  of  Carn 
Morval  are  the  remains  of  some  old  batteries."  Of  these, 
however,  there  is  at  present  no  trace. 

When  we  have  passed  this  point  there  is  not  much  which 
calls  for  notice  on  the  Northern  coast  of  St.  Mary's.  The 
low  reef  of  rocks  which  obliges  the  boat  to  keep  at  some 
distance  from  the  shore  is  called  the  Creeb ;  and  the  South 
Western  point  of  Pcndrathen  Bay  which  we  presently  reach 
is  Bant's  Carn.  Thence  sailing  by  the  Crow  Rock,  we  must 
shape  our  course  in  an  Easterly  direction  across  the  Sound. 

52  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

The  first  appearance  of  this  Eastern  group  of  isles  is  very 
pleasing.  Their  peculiar  beauty  has  elicited  the  admiration 
of  all  who  would  describe  the  scenery  of  the  islands. 

"These  Islets  and  Rocks"  says  Borlase,  "edge  this 
Sound  in  an  extremely  pretty,  and  very  different  manner 
from  any  thing  I  had  seen  before.  The  sides  of  these  little 
Islands  continue  their  greenness  to  the  brim  of  the  water, 
where  they  are  either  surrounded  by  rocks  of  different 
shapes,  which  start  up  here  and  there  as  you  advance, 
like  so  many  enchanted  castles,  or  by  a  verge  of  sand  of  the 
brightest  colour.  The  sea,  having  eaten  away  passages 
between  these  hillocks,  forms  several  pretty  pools  and  lakes, 
and  the  crags  which  kept  their  stations,  look  so  broken, 
intercepted,  and  so  numerous,  that  the  whole  seemed  but 
one  large  grotesque  piece  of  rock-work." 

The  most  convenient  landing  on  Little  Ganinick,  the  more 
Southerly  of  the  two  islets  which  lie  to  the  Westward  of  this 
"  little  archipelago"  *  is  upon  the  Eastern  side.  This  island, 
which  contains  between  three  and  four  acres,  is  at  low  water 
connected  with  Great  Ganinick  by  a  reef  of  rocks,  so  that 
you  may  easily  pass  from  the  one  to  the  other ;  but  at  high 
water  there  is  between  these  isles  a  channel,  seven  feet,  if  not 
more,  in  depth.  If,  therefore,  you  wish  to  visit  both,  you 
will  probably  be  obliged  to  have  recourse  to  your  boat.  In 
that  case  you  will  find  a  suitable  place  for  landing  at  the 
North  East  end  of  Great  Ganinick,  the  area  of  which  is 
about  five  acres.  There  is  not  however,  except  in  the  view 
which  it  offers  of  the  adjoining  islands,  anything  to  repay 
*  Woodley. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  53 

you  for  your  trouble.     The  isles  are  covered  with  long  thick 

Little  Arthur,  which  with  Great  Arthur  contains  from 
fifteen  to  twenty  acres,  next  invites  the  visitor's  attention. 
There  is  a  convenient  landing  between  the  two,  in  a  bay  of 
sand.  These  isles  may  be  properly  considered  as  one;  for  it 
is  only  at  high  tides  that  the  water  washes  over  the  stones 
which  separate  Great  from  Little  Arthur;  and  at  these  times 
the  waves  flow  also  over  the  ridge  of  rocks  which  unites  the 
Northern  to  the  Southern  extremity  of  Great  Arthur:  so  that, 
in  fact,  this  isle  is  at  very  high  tides  broken  up  into  three 
islets,  called  Great,  Middle,  and  Little  Arthur. 

In  Woodley's  history  we  read,  "On  a  very  commanding 
eminence  on  Great  Arthur,  is  a  cromlech  and  sepulchral 
cave,  in  very  good  order.  The  walls  of  this  cave  consist  of 
large  flat  stones,  laid  with  their  edges  smooth;  and  there  are 
two  very  large  stones  laid  flat  at  the  head  of  the  grave, 
which  appears  to  have  been  opened.  It  is  about  twelve  feet 
long,  four  feet  deep,  and  five  feet  and  a  half  wide;  and  is  sur- 
rounded by  an  artificial  mound,  about  forty  yards  in  circum- 
ference. At  a  little  distance  are  two  other  barrows."  On 
this  isle  are  to  be  seen  "the  remains  of  ancient  hedges  and 
other  vestiges  of  cultivation." 

"  Little  Arthur  has  also  three  ancient  burial  places,  one  of 
which  is  large  and  square,  like  a  family  vault."  If  a  visiter 
takes  the  pains  to  compare  this  account  with  his  own 
observations,  he  will  find  it  substantially  correct.  The 
barrow  on  the  Eastern  eminence  of  Great  Arthur,  is  a  very 
large  burial  place;  and  the  proportions  here  given  are,  I 

54  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

doubt  not,  accurate.  Immediately  on  landing  at  that  part 
of  the  isle  which  is  commonly  called  Middle  Arthur,  the 
ruins  of  a  barrow  are  evident,  with  four  covering  stones. 
Near  it  is  another,  with  only  the  head  and  foot  stone. 
Besides  these,  as  Woodley  intimates,  several  others  may  be 
more  or  less  distinctly  traced. 

There  are  also,  the  ruins  of  two  small  houses,  which  were 
the  temporary  accommodations  of  parties  who  resorted  to 
this  convenient  place  for  the  purpose  of  burning  Kelp. 

At  the  North  East  side  of  Little  Arthur,  is  a  large  flat 
rock,  called  Arthur's  Table. 

On  Little  Ganilly,  which  comprises  about  six  acres,  the 
visiter  may  land  at  either  end,  according  to  the  wind. 

He  will  next  reach  an  islet  of  singular  shape,  the  surface 
of  which  is  very  rough  and  uneven;  whence  its  name  of 
Ragged  Island.  It  contains  perhaps  an  acre  and  a  half. 

The  appearance  of  Great  Ganilly,  to  which  he  should  then 
direct  his  boat,  is  very  pleasing.  Its  highest  ground  cannot 
be  less  than  one  hundred  feet  above  the  sea,  being  pretty 
nearly  on  a  level  with  the  highest  point  of  St.  Helen's,  which 
lies  between  St.  Martin's  and  Tresco.  This  is  the  largest  of 
these  Eastern  Isles,  containing  not  less  than  sixteen  acres ; 
according  to  Woodley,  twenty.  The  best  place  for  landing 
is  on  the  West  side,  towards  the  Southern  end  of  it.  From 
the  higher  points  of  land  the  visiter  will  have,  if  the  day  be 
fine,  a  very  good  view  of  the  "  Seven  Stones,"  which  he  will 
at  once  discover  by  the  line  of  white  foam,  caused  by  the 
breaking  of  the  sea  upon  these  rocks.  The  Reef  so  called 
lies  somewhat  less  than  three  leagues  from  the  Islands.  It 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  55 

extends  about  one  mile  from  North-North- West  to  South- 
South-East,  and  is  perhaps  the  same  distance  in  breadth. 
"  These  rocks  can  hardly  be  said  to  belong  to,  or  to  con- 
stitute a  part  of  Scilly,  yet  they  are  frequently  visited  by  the 
Islanders,  on  account  of  the  quantities  of  large  fish  which 
abound  near  them."  *  The  two  points  of  rock  at  the 
extremities  of  this  dangerous  reef,  shewing  themselves  at 
half-tide  only,  are  the  Pollard  to  the  North  and  the  South 
Stone.  In  the  Pollard  two  rings  have  been  fixed,  for  the 
use  of  those  who  may  wish  to  land  upon  the  rock. 

The  Light  Ship  was  moored  in  August,  1841,  about  two 
miles  to  the  East  of  the  Seven  Stones ;  and  she  at  present 
rides  in  very  nearly  this  position. 

We  will  next  visit  Menewethan  which  lies  to  the  South 
West  of  Great  Ganilly ;  and  if  you  are  disposed  for  a  good 
scramble  you  may  land  on  its  Western  side ;  but  the  best 
view,  perhaps,  of  this  fine  mass  of  rocks  is  from  the  water. 
This  Island  contains  from  four  to  five  acres,  and  its  highest 
point  is  eighty-seven  feet  above  mean  water. 

The  Isles  to  the  North  of  Menewethan  are  Great  Inisvouls, 
and  Little  Inisvouls.  The  larger  of  these  contains  about  two 
acres,  the  smaller,  one ;  and  at  low  water  the  two  are  united. 

Between  these  Isles  the  Inhabitants  of  St.  Martin's  and  of 
Tresco  haul  for  their  winter  stock  of  fish.  They  shoot  out 
five  coils  of  line,  each  containing  twenty  fathoms,  in  an 
Easterly  direction  towards  Hanjague ;  and  having  drawn  the 
seine  to  the  shore  they  "  tuck  up  "  the  fish  into  their  boats, 
and  return  homewards,  where  they  divide  their  spoil. 

*  Woodley. 

56  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

You  may  pass  from  Great  Inisvouls  to  Great  Ganilly  over 
an  isthmus  of  rock,  when  the  tide  has  ebbed  four  hours ;  and 
from  this  islet  you  will  have  a  pleasant  sail  to  Hanjague, 
which  from  its  conical  shape,  is  commonly  called  the  Sugar 
Loaf.  If  the  sea  is  quite  calm,  you  may  land  on  that  side  of 
this  bold  rock,  where  the  water  is  smoothest ;  though  this  can 
rarely  be  accomplished.  You  will,  however,  be  glad  to  have 
as  close  a  view  as  possible  of  a  rock,  which  is  so  conspicuous 
a  feature  in  the  scene ;  and  to  which,  perhaps,  your  attention 
was  first  drawn  as  you  approached  the  Islands.  Hanjague 
is  eighty-three  feet  in  height,  and  the  water  around  it  is 
twenty-five  fathoms  deep. 

Between  Inisvouls  and  Hanjague  we  pass  the  Mouls,  "which 
always  presents  three  pointed  rocks  considerably  above  the 
surface  of  the  water;"*    and  is   not,  therefore,  dangerous. 
From  Hanjague  the  visiter  should  sail  to  Nornor.     The  origin 
of  this  name  is  easily  discovered;  as  Nornor  lies  most  to  the 
North   of  all   this   Eastern   group,  with   the   exception   of 
Hanjague.     Nornor  is  distinguished  by  three  points  of  rock, 
of  which  the  Western  is  the  highest ;  and  contains  about 
three  acres.    The  easiest  place  for  landing  is  on  the  Southern 
side ;  though  it  will,  of  course,  occur  to  the  reader  that  in 
attempting  to  land  on  this  or  any  other  Isle  exposed  to  the 
swell  of  the  ocean,  care  must  be  taken  to  choose  the  side  of 
the  Isle  or  Rock  most  sheltered  from  the  wind.     If  the  wind 
is  Southerly  you  must  try  the  Northern  side ;  if  the  wind 
blows  from  the  North  you  must  make  your  approach  from 
the  South. 

•  Woodley. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  57 

From  Nornor  we  will  direct  our  course  to  St.  Martin's,  a 
long  island,  correctly  described  by  Troutbeck  as  "about  two 
miles  long  and  about  six  miles  round,  a  narrow  ridge  of  high 
land."  It  is  narrower  in  the  middle  than  at  its  extremities, 
but  its  average  breadth  is  three  quarters  of  a  mile."*  Trout- 
beck  says  "  It  seems  to  have  been  entirely  cultivated  in 
former  times ;  as  the  tracks  of  hedges  may  be  seen  crossing 
the  ridge  and  descending  to  the  sea  on  either  hand,  but  it  is 
now  improper  for  cultivation,  being  in  many  places  overrun 
with  sand  and  the  soil  quite  buried."  In  this  opinion 
Woodley  coincides,  and  few  persons  will,  I  think,  be  inclined 
to  differ  from  them.  It  is,  however,  difficult  to  reconcile 
this  statement  with  that  made  by  Troutbeck  in  the  very  next 
sentence.  Speaking  of  this  isle  he  says,  "  about  one  hun- 
dred and  sixty  years  ago  it  had  not  one  inhabitant ; "  and 
again,  at  the  close  of  his  account  of  St.  Martin's,  "  about  a 
century  ago  there  were  not  above  three  or  four  families  upon 
this  island."  There  is,  however,  much  in  the  appearance  of 
this  and  the  other  islands  to  strengthen  the  opinion,  that  in 
ages  long  since  past,  this  part  of  England  was  populous  and 
cultivated.  By  whom  and  in  what  age  this  and  the  other 
Isles  were  at  first  peopled,  and  from  what  causes  that 
population  became  extinct :  whether  the  present  inhabitants 
of  St.  Martin's  are  the  descendants  of  those  whom  Mr. 
Thomas  Ekins,  "the  first  steward  that  resided  upon  the 
islands,  since  they  were  granted  to  the  Godolphin  family" 
and  who  "  encouraged  people  to  settle  here  to  cultivate  the 
land  :  "  f  These  are  questions  which  more  properly  belong 
*  Woodley.  t  Troutbeck. 

58  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

to  the  antiquarian,  and  will  scarcely  engage  the  attention  of 
the  tourist.  "  There  are  at  present"  Troutbeck  writes,  that 
is,  during  his  chaplaincy,  "  upwards  of  thirty  families  and 
about  one  hundred  and  eighty  inhabitants,  who  are  all 
related  to  each  other."  Speaking  of  his  own  period  of 
residence  Woodley  says  "At  present  there  are  more  than 
fifty  families  on  the  island ; "  and  in  another  place,  "  It 
contains  sixty  houses  and  two  hundred  and  eighty  inha- 
bitants." Its  present  population  consists  of  fifty  one  families 
comprising  two  hundred  and  ten  individuals. 

Woodley  confirms  the  statement  made  by  Troutbeck  that 
St.  Martin's  "  affords  good  pasture  as  well  as  plentiful  crops 
of  corn  and  potatoes."  The  opinion  which  I  have  heard 
generally  expressed  by  the  residents  on  this  isle,  is,  that  the 
pasturage  is  tolerably  good ;  though,  as  the  ground  is  but 
shallow  and  the  bottom  rocky,  St.  Martin's  suffers  much 
from  drought.  In  its  reputation  for  potatoes  it  still,  I  think, 
holds  the  pre-eminence ;  but  the  soil  of  all  the  islands  is 
most  favourable  to  the  cultivation  of  this  vegetable. 

The  inhabitants  reside  in  three  portions  of  the  isle, 
severally  called  Higher,  Middle,  and  Lower  Town.  Of 
these  Higher  Town  is  in  every  respect  the  most  considerable. 

Its  site  is  more  eligible  than  that  of  the  other  two,  as  it  is 
built  on  the  high  ground  at  the  Southern  extremity.  The 
Church,  of  which  Troutbeck  gives  a  curious  and  minute 
account,  stands  a  little  to  the  North  of  the  principal  houses 
in  Higher  Town.  "  There  is  no  account"  he  says  "  when 
this  church  was  originally  built.  The  dead  have  been 
interred  in  its  cemetery  some  centuries  ago,  as  appears  from 



the  plenty  of  bones  found  when  graves  are  digged." 

It  is  greatly  to  be  regretted  that  there  are  no  means  of 
placing  a  clergyman  on  this  isle;  and  consequently  the 
church  can  be  opened  for  divine  service,  only  during  the 
summer  months ;  and  then  very  occasionally.  To  a  stranger, 
unacquainted  with  the  peculiar  wants  of  the  Isles,  it  would 
seem  that  three  clergymen,  the  present  number,  are  abun- 
dantly sufficient  for  the  work  of  the  ministry  among  a 
population  which  does  not  reach  three  thousand.  But  a 
very  little  experience  of  these  seas  affords  convincing  proof 
that  the  only  Isles  which  can  be  effectually  superintended  by 
one  pastor  are  Tresco  and  Bryher.  For  each  of  the  other 
three  churches  a  clergyman  is  absolutely  necessary,  if  the 
offices  of  divine  service  are  to  be  regularly  performed  in 
them.  St.  Agnes  must  from  its  position  be  a  sole  charge ; 
and  St.  Martin's  can  be  visited  by  the  chaplain,  only  in  fair 
weather.  The  funds  available  for  such  purposes  are  inade- 
quate for  the  maintenance  of  a  fourth  minister,  who  should 
have  St.  Martin's  as  his  especial  care ;  nor  dare  we  look  for 
a  »i  stance  from  other  sources,  so  long  as  the  demand  for 
succour  from  far  more  populous  places  is  still  unsupplied. 

On  this,  as  on  the  three  other  principal  islands,  there  is  an 
Infant  School  as  well  as  one  for  the  elder  children. 

We  will  now  enter  upon  an  examination  of  the  principal 
points  of  interest  in  this  isle.  The  visitor  should  land  in 
IN  i  pitch  Bay,  to  the  West  of  Carniweathers.  Directing  his 
course  to  the  higher  ground  on  which  the  houses  are  built, 
he  will  find  a  very  pleasant  walk  nloni;  the  Eastern  extremity 
of  the  isle  to  the  Day-mark.  This  walk  is  the  more  inviting 

60  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

from  the  distinct  view  which   it  affords  of  the  pretty  isles 
you  have  just  explored. 

The  fine,  bold,  precipitous  mass  of  rock  at  the  most 
Northerly  point  of  the  East  end  of  St.  Martin's  is  ac- 
cording to  the  calculations  which  have  recently  been  made, 
about  one  hundred  and  sixty  feet  in  height,  as  Woodley 
also  has  computed.  On  the  summit  of  this  rocky  head- 
land is  the  Day-mark ;  which,  according  to  Troutbeck,  is 
forty  feet  in  height;  according  to  Woodley,  twenty. 
The  mean,  probably,  between  these  two  extremes  would 
be  more  exact.  It  is  somewhat  above  thirty  feet  high; 
and,  as  perhaps  you  observed  on  your  first  approach 
to  the  islands,  "  is  visible  at  a  distance  of  many  leagues." 
During  the  last  war  a  house  was  built  near  the  Day-mark, 
for  the  use  of  the  officer  who  had  charge  of  the  telegraph 
erected  on  this  spot.  When  peace  was  proclaimed  this 
house  was  to  a  great  extent  demolished  by  the  islanders ; 
not,  so  far  as  I  can  learn,  by  any  competent  authority ;  but, 
forsooth,  in  the  exuberance  of  their  joy,  or  from  the  selfish 
motive  of  turning  its  materials  to  more  profitable  account. 

Of  the  use  and  benefit  of  this  signal  station,  some 
interesting  records  are  furnished  by  the  older  inhabitants  of 
the  Isles.  On  one  occasion,  I  have  been  informed,  a  boat 
belonging  to  St.  Mary's  put  off  to  a  vessel,  with  the 
intention  of  offering  some  fresh  fish  for  sale.  She  proved 
to  be  a  French  ship ;  and,  according  to  the  rules  of  war,  the 
English  boat  was  sunk,  though  the  crew  were  received  on 
board  the  enemy.  Presently  a  signal  was  observed  at  St. 
Martin's  head,  which  informed  Captain  Pellew  that  a  French 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  61 

vessel  was  in  sight.  He  immediately  gave  chase  and 
brought  her  to  action  between  the  Isles  and  the  Lizard. 
After  a  very  destructive  engagement,  the  Frenchman  was 
captured,  and  the  Islanders  who  had  been  sent  below 
during  the  fight,  were  released.  The  ship  was  taken 
prisoner  to  Plymouth.  In  other  instances,  not  a  few,  the 
communications  made  by  the  officer,  on  duty  at  this  station, 
proved  the  means  of  safety  to  our  merchantmen  and  ships 
of  war. 

The  top  of  the  Day-mark  is  one  hundred  and  ninety 
feet ;  and  hence,  this  head-land  is  about  one  hundred  and 
sixty  feet  above  mean  water. 

The  description  given  by  Borlase  of  the  Day-mark  and 
and  of  St.  Martin's  generally  is,  perhaps  of  sufficient  interest 
to  warrant  me  in  transcribing  it. 

"  At  the  Eastern  end  is  a  very  rocky  and  high  promon- 
tory called  St.  Martin's  Head,  on  the  top  of  which  the  late 
Mr.  Ekines,  a  considerable  merchant  of  these  Islands  built 
a  round  Tower  twenty  feet  high,  and  a  Spire  on  the  top  of  it 
as  many  feet  more,  and  plaistered  it  with  Lime  on  the  out- 
side, that  it  may  be  a  Day-mark  to  Ships  which  fall  in  with 
this  dangerous  Coast.  The  Tower  is  not  solid,  but  hollow, 
and  over  the  door  is  T  E,*  1683.  There  is  a  stone-stair-case 
within,  by  which  people  may  ascend  to  the  top  of  the  Tower, 
whence  you  have  a  larger  ken  than  from  below,  and  a  fair 
view  of  England.  The  Church  here  is  larger  and  better 
seated  than  that  of  any  of  the  off-islands. 

"This  Island  is  a  narrow  ridge  of  land,  and  though  fully 
*  "  Th«-  Initial  Litters  of  Tiioinas  Ekines." 

62  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

cultivated  formerly,  had  not  one  inhabitant  upon  it  about 
eighty  years  since,  when  Mr.  Ekines  above-mentioned, 
observing  some  parts  improveable,  encouraged  a  little  Colony 
to  settle  here,  and  now  it  has  the  finest  pasture,  which  we 
saw  in  ail  the  Islands,  produces  good  Corn,  and  has  betwixt 
sixty  and  seventy  inhabitants.  There  are  eighteen  families, 
all  related,  have  a  great  opinion  of  their  own  Island,  are 
not  willing  to  admit  strangers  among  them,  and  think  they 
cannot  live  any  where  so  pleasantly  and  plentifully  as  in 
St.  Martin's :  Some  of  them  for  want  of  arable  land  at 
home,  rent  lands  in  St.  Mary's,  or  some  other  Island, 
and  live  part  of  the  year  there,  the  more  fully  to  employ 
themselves,  but  as  soon  as  their  Crop  is  got  in,  and  the 
business  of  their  little  Farm  is  over,  they  return  to  St. 
Martin's  with  pleasure,  and  look  upon  that  as  their  home." 

Hanjague  is  due  South  East  from  the  Day-mark.  The 
two  Chapel  rocks  and  Hardlewis  rocks  lie  East,  and  East- 
South-East  from  the  same  point.  They  are  not  visible  until 

We  will  now  begin  our  survey  of  the  coast.  Stretching 
to  the  West  of  St.  Martin's  Head  is  a  deep  bay,  called 
Bread  and  Cheese  Cove.  The  Eastern  side  of  this  cove  is 
Chapel  Brow;  and  the  ridge  of  rocks  running  from  the 
high  ground  to  the  sea  is  very  bold  and  picturesque.  Loop- 
hole Point  is  the  name  given  by  the  islanders  to  the  Western 
end  of  this  cove ;  and  the  next  bay  is  called  Stony  Forth. 
The  promontory  which  forms  the  Western  side  of  Stony 
Forth  is  Burnt  Hill;  a  name  probably  derived  from  the 
appearance  of  the  ground.  The  outer  extremity  of  this 

l-I.KS    OF    SCILLY.  63 

head-land  is  at  high  spring  tides  separated  from  the  main 
land  of  St.  Martin's  and  bears  the  name  of  Rat  Island. 
Opposite  Burnt  Hill  towards  the  North  "is  a  large  rock 
called  the  Murr  from  a  sea-bird  of  that  name  by  which  it  is 
frequented."  *  This  may  have  been  the  case  in  Mr.Woodley's 
time ;  but  I  cannot  learn  that  it  ever  was,  and  most  certainly 
it  is  not  now  frequented  by  this  or  by  any  other  sea-bird. 

A  little  to  the  West  is  Culver  Hole  of  which  both 
Troutbeck  and  Woodley  give  a  precise  account.  There  is 
however  no  evidence  of  its  having  been  a  "  tin- work"  or  any 
thing  but  a  natural  excavation ;  and  the  curious  arch  at  the 
entrance  of  the  hole  or  cavern,  which  will  probably  be  swept 
away,  ere  long,  by  the  encroaching  tide,  was,  there  can  be 
little  doubt,  formed  by  the  falling  away  of  the  earth  around 
it.  At  the  distance  of  only  a  few  yards  to  the  West  is 
another  recess  in  the  cliff  of  very  similar  appearance  to 
Culver  Hole. 

The  head-land  lying  still  more  to  the  West  is  called  "  Turfy 
1 1  ill.  "-f-  The  origin  of  this  name,  it  is  probable,  maybe 
found  in  the  quantity  of  turf  which  has  been  cut  in  this 
part  of  the  island. 

Bull's  Forth,  above  which  are  some  fine  rocks ;  is  the  name 
given  to  the  bay  between  Burnt  Hill  and  Turfy  Hill.  The 
rocks  which  lie  off  this  part  of  the  isle,  at  some  little  distance 
in  the  sea,  make  it  very  dangerous  to  approach.  To  the 
West-North- West  of  Murr  Hock  is  Sandy's  ledge,  Mackerel 
li<>rk  and  Merrick  Ledge. 

From  Turfy  Hill  the  bay,  which  bears  the  name  of  the 

•  Woodley.  t  Troutbeck. 

64  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

island,  stretches  to  the  North  West.  St.  Martin's  Bay  is 
half  a  mile  in  length,  and  is  crowned  by  good  sands.  On 
the  Eastern  side  of  it  are  three  mounds  of  earth,  of  consid- 
erable size,  which  are  called  by  the  inhabitants  the  French- 
men's Graves:  a  name  probably  derived  from  the  wreck 
upon  these  rocks  of  some  vessel  belonging  to  France.  The 
bodies,  it  is  not  unlikely,  of  the  crew  were  deposited  in  these 
sands.  Forming  the  Western  side  of  this  bay,  and  nearly 
the  extreme  point  to  the  North  of  St.  Martin's  "  is  a  high 
earn,  called  Top  Rock,  which  was  split  with  thunder  on 
November  20th,  1751." 

So  at  least  says  Troutbeck  who  gives  a  full  and  marvellous 
account  of  this  disaster. 

Due  North  of  this  Cam  is  White  Island  to  which  the 
visiter  may  pass  on  foot  at  low  water.  This  Isle  contains 
by  estimation  fifty  acres,  *  and  is  chiefly  remarkable  for  a 
deep  cavern  situated  nearly  in  the  middle  of  its  eastern  side. 
Into  this  cavern  it  is  possible  to  enter  only  at  low  tides ; 
and  those  who  have  examined  it,  say  you  can  penetrate 
twenty  or  thirty  fathoms  without  reaching  the  end  of  it.  It 
is  supposed  to  have  been  an  old  tin-work,  its  direction  is  East 
and  West."t  There  is  a  rock  on  the  surface  of  the  ground, 
which,  in  the  opinion  of  some  of  the  Islanders,  marks  the 
extreme  distance  to  which  you  can  go  under  the  ground. 

Woodley's  description  of  this  cavern  represents  it  as  a 
place  of  gloom  and  terror:  "the  rocks  within — above — 
around — all  black  as  night ;  "  with  much  more  to  the  same 
effect,  which  (to  borrow  his  own  expression)  "  surpasses 

*  Troutbeck  who  is  copied  by  Woodley.  t  Troutbeck. 

ISLES   OF    SCILLY.  65 

hyperbole."  Off  the  North  Western  end  of  St.  Martin's 
and  due  West  of  White  Island  is  Pernagic  Isle,  to  which  as 
well  as  to  Plumb  Isle,  lying  to  the  South  and  nearer  St. 
Martin's,  you  can  walk  dry-shod,  when  the  tide  has  ebbed 
two  hours.  Pernagic  Isle  is  not  far  distant  from  the  Lion 
Rock,  which,  at  low  tides,  you  may  also  reach  on  foot. 

On  the  dangerous  brow  of  rocks  which  connects  Lion 
Rock  with  Pernagic  Isle,  a  vessel  called  the  "Palinurus" 
was  wrecked  on  the  27th  of  December,  1848.  Seventeen 
bodies  were  recovered ;  and  on  the  thirtieth,  twelve  were 
together  buried  in  the  church  yard  of  St.  Mary's.  Two 
were  subsequently  interred  near  the  same  spot;  and  the 
other  three  lie  in  the  church  yard  of  St.  Martin's.  The 
vessel  was  bound  from  Demerara  to  England ;  and  must, 
therefore,  from  some  cause  or  other  have  lost  her  proper 
course  ;  a  circumstance  which  adds  to  the  solemn  and 
melancholy  reflections  awakened  by  this  deplorable  event. 
None  survived  to  give  any  explanation,  or  to  tell  who  and 
how  many  had  perished. 

To  the  West  South  West  of  Lion  Rock  is  Black  Rock, 
between  which  and  Round  Island  is  the  Channel  for  Vessels 
sailing  into  Old  Grimsby  Harbour. 

The  name  given  by  the  islanders  to  the  cove  between 
Pernagic  Point  and  Tinkler's  Point,  is  Pursile  Bay.  This 
latter  is  nearly  the  most  Western  promontory  of  St.  Martin's; 
and  on  it  is  a  rock  which  bears  the  same  name  as  the  point, 
and  "  which  from  the  singularity  of  its  appearance,  is 
supposed  to  have  been  an  object  of  Druid  worship.  Near 
this  are  two  circles  of  erect  stones,  (about  sixty  feet,  each 

66  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

circle,  in  circumference,)  and  an  ancient  burrow."*  A 
visiter  will  have  some  difficulty  in  making  out  these  circles, 
as  "  some  of  the  stones  have  been  lately  taken  away  for 
building  houses  near  at  hand.",  f 

To  the  South-by- West  is  a  small  hole  in  the  cliff  which 
gives  its  name  to  Goat's  Point ;  and  "  close  to  the  shore, 
opposite  the  island  of  Tean,  is  a  large  heap  of  rocks, 
upwards  of  one  hundred  feet  high,  called  Bab's  Carn,  from 
a  family  of  that  name,  who  lived  close  by  it."  *f-  This  earn 
still  retains  its  name,  but  the  visiter  will  see  that  Troutbeck 
has  somewhat  exaggerated  its  height. 

From  this  point  we  will  direct  our  course  Eastwards, 
along  the  good  road,  which  has  been  recently  made, 
connecting  the  Eastern  and  Western  extremities  of  this 
island,  and  which  may  not  inappropriately  be  called  "  the 
mall "  of  St.  Martins. 

There  is  not  anything  which  calls  for  particular  observation 
in  this  pleasant  walk. 

The  prospect  from  the  South  Eastern  end  of  the  road,  in 
front  of  the  houses,  is  very  beautiful.  The  cultivated  fields 
sloping  towards  the  sea,  present  either  from  above  or  from 
below  a  pleasing  appearance  of  fertility.  Cruthers  Bay,  or, 
as  it  is  marked  in  the  map,  Higher  Town  Bay,  with  its 
watch  house,  and  the  pilot  boats  riding  at  anchor  in  its  calm 
waters;  Cruthers  Hill  on  your  right,  stretching  out  into  the 
sea  and  forming  the  South  Western  point  of  the  Bay,  which 
is  bounded  on  the  East  by  English  Point  Cam;  these 
several  features  in  the  scenery  combined  with  the  more 
*  Woodley.  t  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  67 

distant  objects,  which  you  will  now  recognize  as  familiar 
friends,  present  a  view  of  great  interest  and  beauty.  Both 
Troutbeck  and  Woodley  greatly  overstate  the  height  of 
Cruthers  Hill,  which  is,  probably,  not  more  than  sixty  feet. 

The  beach  on  the  Western  and  Southern  sides  of  St. 
Martin's  has  so  very  gradual  a  slope  from  the  shore,  that  at 
low  water  it  is  not  possible  to  reach  the  island  even  in  small 
boats.  These  sands,  called  St.  Martin's  flats,  are  one  of  the 
chief  places  in  the  Isles  for  the  collectors  of  shells,  especially 
towards  their  Southern  end,  between  Guthers  Isle  and 
Higher  Town.* 

*  For  much  of  the  information  given  in  this  excursion,  I  am  indebted 
to  Stephen  Woodcock,  and  James  Bickibrd,  of  Higher  Town,  both  civil 
and  intelligent  guides. 

THE  principal  Isle  yet  remains  to  be  explored;  and  two  days 
will  scarcely  be  sufficient  for  this  purpose.  Not  only  is  St. 
Mary's  the  largest  of  the  group :  but  it  is  the  most  cultivated  ; 
and  exceeds  in  the  amount  of  its  population  all  the  other 
Isles  together. 

Troutbeck,  who  was  the  Chaplain  of  these  Isles  from  1780 
to  1796,  says  that  in  his  period  of  residence,  St.  Mary's 
contained  "about  two  hundred  families  and  near  eight  hundred 
inhabitants."  Its  present  length  he  adds  "is  about  two 
miles  and  a  half,  and  it  may  be  reckoned  betwixt  nine  and 
ten  miles  in  circumference,  and  contains  by  estimation  about 
one  thousand,  six  hundred  and  forty  acres,  including  the  land 
within  the  Garrison."  Woodley  calculates  it  to  be  "  about 
eight  miles  in  circumference,  two  miles  and  a  half  in  length, 
and  one  mile  and  a  half  in  breadth."  The  former  statement 
is  the  more  accurate.  St.  Mary's  is  about  nine  miles  in 

The  population  is  now  nearly  double  its  amount  in  the  time 

70  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

of  Troutbeck,  being  a  little  above  fifteen  hundred,  of  these 
about  one  thousand  live  in  Hugh  Town ;  one  hundred  and 
twenty  in  Old  Town,  and  the  remaining  number  are  scattered 
over  the  country. 

The  contrast  between  the  cottages  which  have  been  recently 
built,  and  those  which  Woodley  describes  as  "  presenting  the 
appearance  of  a  ship's  cabin,  with  the  beams  and  planks 
over  head  painted  white,"  is  sufficiently  striking.  The  houses 
in  Hugh  Street  are  very  old,  and  many  of  them  certainly  wear 
a  somewhat  forlorn  and  dreary  aspect ;  but  as  the  visiter 
advances  towards  the  Church  and  sees  those  more  recently 
built  on  the  Parade  and  in  Buzza  Street,  towards  Porcrasa, 
he  will  be  impressed  with  a  widely  different  feeling.  He  will 
find  himself  surrounded  by  houses  with  every  token  of 
cheerfulness  and  comfort ;  and  when  he  learns  that  they  have 
been  built  by  the  inhabitants  themselves,  and  are  in  the  majority 
of  instances  held  of  the  Proprietor  at  a  trifling  ground  rent, 
for  forty  years,  he  will  draw  the  conclusion,  which  longer 
acquaintance  with  the  place  will  strengthen  and  confirm,  that 
the  Isles  of  Scilly  have  been  favoured  with  an  unusual 
measure  of  prosperity. 

The  Custom  House  and  the  Post  Office  are  in  the  centre 
of  Hugh  Town,  at  only  a  short  distance  from  the  Pier.  The 
Custom  House  is  not  that  building  described  by  Woodley  as 
"  airy,  spacious,  and  commodious,"  standing  at  the  back  of 
the  Post  Office  in  Well  Lane.  That  room  is  now  appropriated 
to  the  Infant  School ;  and  in  it  two  mistresses,  (themselves 
trained,  at  the  expense  of  the  Proprietor,  in  the  Home  and 
Colonial  Infant  School  Society  in  London),  are  carefully  and 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  71 

successfully  training  between  fifty  and  sixty  of  the  infant 
population  of  St.  Mary's.  The  more  suitable  and  commodious 
Custom  House  in  present  use  has  been  erected  on  the  very 
verge  of  the  sea,  at  no  great  distance  from  the  pier ;  and  is 
viable  to  all  the  vessels  sailing  into  the  Pool.  It  was  built 
in  1841. 

The  town  is  more  considerable  than  most  visiters  expect. 
There  are  several  shops  of  some  pretension,  in  which  almost 
every  article  of  domestic  use  may  generally  be  obtained. 
Within  the  last  few  years  a  great  improvement  has  been 
effected  in  the  mode  of  carrying  on  business.  New  shops 
have  displayed  a  greater  variety  and  a  larger  assortment  of 
goods ;  a  little  wholesome  competition  has  reduced  the  price 
of  articles ;  and  every  endeavour  is  made  to  meet  the  wants 
and  wishes  of  customers. 

Attention  to  dress  prevails  as  much  in  this  as  in  other  parts 
of  Cornwall ;  and  the  system  of  barter  or  exchange,  which  is 
carried  on  to  a  great  extent,  enables  almost  all  to  gratify  their 
taste  in  this  respect.  I  have  often  heard  a  comparison 
suggested  by  some  of  the  older  inhabitants  between  the 
showy,  costly  dresses  of  more  modern  times,  and  the  coarse, 
checkered  aprons  or  gowns  of  former  days  ;  when  the 
grandsires  of  the  present  generation  were  wont,  as  my 
informant  tells  me,  to  ride  their  palfreys  to  Church,  each 
with  his  gude  wife  or  his  daughter  before  him ;  while  the 
more  youthful  members  of  his  family  came  tripping  along  to 
the  loved  and  honoured  house  of  prayer. 

The  Church  then  stood  in  the  midst  of  the  fields  on  the 
Southern  side  of  the  Isle,  near  Old  Town  Bay.  A  portion  of 

72  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

the  Old  Church,  in  which  the  burial  service  is  very  occasion- 
ally read,  is  yet  standing ;  and  in  it  are  one  or  two  mural 
tablets  and  several  grave  stones  with  inscriptions  upon  them. 
It  is  about  half  a  mile  distant  from  Hugh  Town,  in  which 
the  majority  of  the  inhabitants  now  reside,  and  where, 
consequently,  the  present  Church  stands.* 

The  burial  ground  is  around  the  remains  of  the  old  Church. 
It  is  the  usual  practice  to  carry  the  corpse  into  the  New 
Church,  where  the  former  part  of  the  service  is  read,  and 
afterwards  to  deposit  it  in  the  ground,  which  is  hallowed  by 
so  many  sacred  recollections,  and  in  which  it  may  mingle 
with  the  dust  of  many  preceding  generations. 

The  Church,  in  which  divine  service  is  now  performed,  has 
been  built  on  somewhat  high  ground  at  the  East  end  of  the 
main  street  of  St.  Mary's,  and  therefore  at  the  entrance  of 
Hugh  Town  as  you  approach  it  from  the  country.  A  Tablet 
within  its  walls  declares  that 

In  the 
Year  of  our  Lord, 

This  Church  was  erected 

By  the  munificence  of 
His  Majesty  King  William  IV. 

The  same  was  completed  at  the  expense  of 
Augustus  Smith,  Esq. 

*  I  am  unable  to  discover  the  origin  of  the  word  Hugh,  and  therefore 
acquiesce  in  the  ingenious  hypothesis  suggested  by  Mr.  Woodley.  Huer 
in  Johnson  is  "  one,  whose  business  it  is  to  call  out  to  others ;"  and,  in 
the  passage,  quoted  in  the  Dictionary,  from  Carew's  survey,  a  Huer  is 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  73 

The  church  is  a  neat  building  in  the  gothic  style,  with 
open  seats  and  a  gallery  at  the  West  end.  Its  extreme 
simplicity  is,  perhaps,  its  chief  ornament;  and  no  one  can 
fail  I  think  to  approve  the  taste  which  it  displays.  From 
the  church  to  the  burial  ground  is  an  exceedingly  pleasant 
walk ;  chiefly  across  some  fields  with  a  gentle  declivity,  so 
that  the  smooth  gravel  road  is  always  dry.  Before  you  is 
a  fine  sea-view,  the  waves  rolling  in  upon  the  bay  which 
separates  the  church  fields  from  Old  Town  and  forming  a 
fine  back-ground  to  the  landscape. 

These  prefatory  observations  relate  to  matters  of  interest 
in  connexion  with  St.  Mary's,  and  could  hardly  be  embodied 
in  what  may  be  termed  the  geographical  survey  of  the  Isle ; 
but  we  propose  now  to  direct  the  visiter  in  a  minute 
examination  of  its  varied  and  beautiful  scenery. 

With  this  object  he  should  bend  his  s'teps  towards  Por- 
crasa,  a  fine  bay  on  the  Southern  side  of  the  island,  extending 

from   the    Garrison   to    Buzza   Hill.      It   is   mentioned   by 

Troutbeck  and  others  under  the  more  pleasing  title  of  Forth 

Cressa.     By  Borlase  it  is  written  Forth  Crasou. 

Following  the  foot  path  which  tends  in  a  South  Easterly 
direction  from  the  end  of  Buzza  Street,  we  shall  presently 
reach  Buzza  Hill.  On  its  summit  stands  the  windmill ;  and 
the  view  from  this  eminence  will  repay  the  fatigue  of  the 
ascent.  The  prospect  on  all  sides  is  as  charming  as  it  is 

described  as  one  "who  standeth  on  the  Cliff-side,  and  from  thence 
discerneth  the  course  of  the  Pilchard."  Woodley  conjectures  that  the  Hugh 
at  St.  Mary's  may  derive  its  name  from  having  been  formerly  used  as  an 
eligible  station  by  such  watchers. 

74  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

The  Church  especially  is  seen  to  great  advantage.  Wood- 
ley's  description  of  this  hill  is  exaggerated.  He  says  "  that 
it  consists  of  vast  masses  or  blocks  of  granite ;  here  protru- 
ding their  grey  tops  above  the  furze  and  fern  that  fringe  its 
rugged  brow  and  sides ;  there,  recumbent  in  every  posture 
on  the  smaller  rocks  which  still  remain  partly  imbedded  in 
the  soil,  and  seeming  to  threaten  the  passenger  who  winds 
his  way  at  the  base  of  the  hill,  with  an  instantaneous  crush 
beneath  their  ponderous  and  (apparently)  ill- supported 
bulks."  This  description  partakes  of  that  poetical  licence 
which  Mr.  Woodley  has,  throughout  his  work,  allowed  him- 
self. Buzza  Hill,  however,  on  its  Western  side  presents  a 
bold,  rocky  appearance.  Scantily  clothed  with  verdure,  the 
large  fragments  of  stone  stand  out  from  the  golden  blossom 
or  the  green  bushes  of  the  furze,  and  are  in  good  keeping 
with  the  other  features  in  the  picture.  Its  Northern  side, 
which  invites  attention  in  the  walk  from  the  town  towards 
the  church,  is  more  in  harmony  with  the  fields  beneath  it, 
presenting  a  green  and  fertile  aspect. 

Woodley  tells  us  that  "  on  the  top  of  Buzza  Hill*  are  three 
cromlechs."  By  cromlechs  I  presume  he  means  barrows ; 
and  of  these  I  can  discern  only  one.  The  other  two  have, 
not  improbably,  been  destroyed,  either  in  the  erection  of  the 
mill,  or  in  obtaining  stone  for  building  purposes.  That, 
which  is  still  in  existence,  lies  to  the  South  West  of  the 
Wind-mill.  Immediately  opposite  Buzza  Hill,  on  the  other 
side  of  Porcrasa  is  the  Garrison  with  its  distinctive  features 

*  By  Borlase  this  Hill  is  called  Bosow  Hill ;  and  be  supposes  the  name 
to  be  derived  from  a  family  which  once  lived  near  this  spot. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  75 

of  the  Star  Castle  and  the  officers'  quarters  which  are  now 
allowed  as  private  dwellings.  The  ground  between  the  rocky 
beach,  and  the  wall  encircling  the  Garrison,  is  divided  into 
several  allotments  of  garden,  which  are  let  at  an  almost 
nominal  rent  to  the  inhabitants.  At  the  South  Eastern 
extremity  of  the  Garrison,  called  Morning  Point,  is  a  battery 
with  five  guns,  to  which  together  with  the  other  means  of 
defence,  I  shall  more  particularly  refer  in  the  excursion  of 

As  soon  as  you  have  passed  the  Garrison  you  will  have 
a  distant  prospect  of  the  picturesque  rocks  at  Annet  Head, 
and  the  reefs  and  ledges,  indicated  by  the  white  line  of  foam, 
which  lie  scattered  in  the  Broad  Sound.  Nearer  is  St. 
Agnes  with  her  friendly  Light-house,  and  the  fine  rocks, 
the  Kittern  and  the  Bow,  of  which  we  have  had  a  closer 

Ascending  the  sloping  ground  which  lies  towards  the 
South,  you  will  enjoy  a  commanding  view  of  Peninnis 
Head,  the  finest  mass  of  rocks  in  the  Isles.  The  Cam 
midway  between  Buzza  Hill  and  this  bold  head-land, 
called,  I  know  not  why,  the  Dutchman's  Cam,  ought  not, 
however,  to  be  passed  without  notice.  In  itself  it  is 
sufficiently  picturesque;  and  from  it  you  may  enjoy  an 
extensive  view  towards  the  North  West,  the  West,  and  the 
South.  In  the  former  direction,  the  town  of  St.  Mary's  on 
its  narrow  belt  of  sand,  Porcrasa,  the  masts  of  vessels  in 
the  Pool,  and  the  yet  more  distant  hills  of  Bryher;  West- 
wards, Annet,  the  Bishop  and  the  multitude  of  rocks  which 
lie  in  that  direction ;  Southwards,  Peninnis,  the  Gugh,  and 

76  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

St.  Agnes ;  these  different  objects  will,  from  this  point,  arrest 
a  visitor's  attention.  Beneath  is  the  Bluff,  a  fine,  bold  rock, 
not  accessible  from  the  shore.  It  seems  to  be  within  the 
distance  of  an  easy  leap  from  the  coast  of  St.  Mary's ;  but 
there  is  between  the  two  a  deep  channel,  which  it  is  scarcely 
safe  to  attempt  thus  to  cross. 

Advancing  towards  the  South,  your  way  lies  down  a  slight 
declivity  to  the  rocks  which  we  are  about  to  explore ;  and 
which,  as  you  now  more  nearly  approach  them,  will  be  seen 
to  be  of  a  grand  and  imposing  character.  Lying  on  the 
upper  ground,  at  some  little  distance  from  the  sea,  is  a 
curious  group,  called  the  Kettle  and  Pans.  The  name  is 
derived  from  large  cavities  or  basons  in  the  rocks,  capable 
of  holding  a  quantity  of  water. 

As  these  are  the  most  remarkable  basons  with  which  I 
am  acquainted  in  the  Isles,  it  may  be  expected  that  I  should 
more  particularly  advert  to  the  opinions  which  have  been 
expressed  concerning  them.  Troutbeck  has  entered  most 
fully  into  the  question  of  Druidical  remains  ;  and  his 
opinions,  stated  with  singular  frankness  and  simplicity,  will 
furnish  the  reader  with  much  pleasing  entertainment.*  Bor- 
lase,  as  is  well  known  to  all  who  are  acquainted  with  his 
valuable  works,  has  largely  discussed  this  subject.  In  the 
letter,  to  which  I  have  already  referred,f  he  says,  when 
speaking  of  St.  Mary's,  "On  this  Island,  as  well  as  on 
every  other,  I  found  a  great  number  of  Rock-basons,  by 

*  See  Troutbeck's  description  of  the  Scilly  Islands,  pages  82,  93,  and 

t  Borlase's  Letter  to  the  Rer.  Charles  Lyttlelton,  L.L.D,  Dean  of  Exeter, 
and  F.R.S. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  77 

which  it  appears,  that  one  and  the  same  superstition  with 
regard  to  these  Monuments  (for  they  are  found  generally 
in  or  near  places  of  worship)  obtain'd  both  here  and  in 
Cornwall,  and  had  probably  it's  first  rise  in  these  Islands 
and  the  Continent  adjoining,  which  is  the  reason  that  they 
are  found  in  both  Scilly  and  Cornwall  in  greater  numbers 
than  in  any  part  of  Britain.  My  opinion  concerning  the 
use  of  them  you  do  not  want  to  be  informed  of,  I  have 
always  thought  that  they  were  designed  to  receive  and 
preserve  in  their  utmost  purity  the  waters  of  the  Heavens 
for  holy  uses ;  but  in  such  doubtful  cases  let  every  man 
think  for  himself.  I  shall  therefore  only  give  you  a  descrip- 
tion of  one  place,  and  the  Basons  which  it  contains. 

"  At  Peninnis  a  quarter  of  a  mile  below  the  new  Windmill, 
after  passing  a  very  stony  hill  we  came  to  the  Knoll  of  the 
Promontory  covered  with  a  fair  Turf,  in  several  parts  of 
which  are  large  Karns,  and  between  them  a  fine  verdure 
and  scarce  a  stone  to  be  seen.  There  are  many  Rock- 
basons  still  here,  though  the  stones  have  been  much  cloven 
and  carried  off  for  building.  Their  houses,  hedges,  and 
fortifications  being  all  of  stone,  and  the  limits  being  narrow 
in  such  small  Islands,  have  obliged  them  to  borrow  much 
stone  from  their  Karns,  vchich  I  mention  the  rather  because 
you  may  wonder,  perhaps,  that  these  which  follow,  and  the 
other  Monuments,  are  so  maimed,  and  not  one  Cromleh  (of 
which  sort  I  doubt  not  there  were  many  here  formerly)  to  be 
found  ;  but  to  return, 

"On  one  Rock  we  saw  fifteen  Basons,  some  the  hir-i-i  I 
have  seen,  and  round  withal.     Two  we  measured  ;    the  first 

78  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

from  its  highest  part  is  six  feet  deep,  but  the  other  parts  of 
it's  brim  are  not  so  high ;  the  sides,  as  they  descend,  are  not 
perpendicular  but  concave,  the  shape  of  the  Bason  is  oval, 
six  feet  long  and  four  wide ;  inscrib'd  within  this  oval  the 
bottom  is  circular,  four  feet  diameter,  hollow'd  out  as 
exactly  as  a  cup ;  it  held  formerly  one  foot  ten  inches  of 
wrater,  but  the  thinner  part  of  the  brim  being  broke  oft)  it 
holds  now  only  eight  inches.  There  is  another  Bason 
contiguous  to,  and  beneath  the  first,  and  in  shape  more 
circular.  It  received  the  water  from  the  first,  when  it 
overflowed,  is  six  feet  six  inches  diameter,  four,  feet  ten 
inches  deep,  and  one  foot  three  inches  in  water,  the  sides 
more  concave  than  those  of  the  other.  There  are  thirteen 
Basons  more  of  different  sizes  communicating  their  moisture 
to  those  two  great  ones  wherever  the  shape  of  the  rock 
would  permit,  otherwise  discharging  it  over  the  sides  another 
way ;  both  the  great  and  small  are  sunk  into  an  immense 
rock,  to  which  we  were  forced  to  climb  up  in  a  manner 
neither  very  pleasant  nor  safe.  Though  the  spray  of  the  sea 
so  near  them  on  every  hand  might  well  be  supposed  to  fill 
these  Basons  with  salt  water,  yet  I  found  the  water  in  them 
to  be  quite  fresh.  Let  me  add  that  fronting  this  group  at 
a  little  distance  there  shoots  up  a  prodigious  rock,  thin, 
pyramidal,  twelve  feet  at  the  base,  and  thirty  feet  high,  not 
improbably  an  object  of  the  Druid  Devotion." 

From  his  larger  work  on  the  Antiquities  of  Cornwall,  I 
extract  the  following  passages.  Speaking  of  the  "  devotional 
monuments  upon  Karnbre  Hill,  Illogan  Parish"  he  says 
"  On  a  Karn  on  the  Western  end  there  are  artificial  basons 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  79 

cut  in  the  uppermost  rocks.  On  the  second  groupe  there 
are  five  of  the  same  kind,  two  of  which  have  plain  and 
distinct  lips  or  mouths  to  them  to  discharge  whatever  wras 
intended  to  be  contain'd  in  these  vessels;  their  figure 
circular,  sometimes  oblong,  and  seemingly  without  any  aim 
at  a  regular  figure :  they  were  all  of  different  dimensions, 
from  three  to  one  foot  diameter;  from  one  foot  to  six 
inches  deep. 

"After  seeing  several  other  basons  on  the  tops  of  the  rocks, 
as  we  advanc'd  towards  the  East,  we  found  a  most  curious 
orbicular  fiat  stone,  (such  as  in  Cornwall  are  call'd  Quoits 
from  their  figure  which  has  pretty  much  of  the  Discus  form) 
which  was  wantonly  thrown  down  from  the  top  of  a  mon- 
strous rock,  at  the  foot  of  which  it  now  lies.  On  the  surface 
of  this  Quoit  was  an  exact  circular  bason,  three  feet  diameter, 
one  foot  deep,  and  round  the  edges  many  little  and  shallow 
basons  communicating  with  the  great  one." 

His  observations  may  be  thought  applicable  to  the  basons 
which  are  found  in  these  and  in  all  granite  rocks.  But  their 
appearance  and  their  number  show  this  to  be  highly  impro- 
bable ;  and  if  the  action  of  the  winds  and  storms  sufficiently 
account  for  some  why  not  for  all  ?  Such  a  suggestion  will 
I  am  well  aware  be  thought  by  many  over-bold ;  but  in  the 
remarks  which,  I  have  ventured  to  make  here  and  in  one 
other  place,  I  would  be  understood  as  only  suggesting  that 
natural  causes,  causes  in  constant  operation,  are  generally 
sufficient  to  account  for  the  cavities  in  these  granite  rocks. 

The  opinion  of  Davies  Gilbert  upon  this  subject  may 
perhaps  be  correctly  inferred  from  the  following  sentence. 

80  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

"  Doctor  Borlase  has  written  a  separate  treatise  on  the 
Scilly  Islands,  and  described  in  it  the  scanty  remains  of 
their  supposed  Druidical  Antiquities.*  " 

There  are  many  cavities  in  the  rocks,  as  large,  or  nearly 
as  large  as  these  famous  basins,  which  cannot  from  their 
position  be  supposed  to  be  intended  to  collect  and  hold  the 
rain.  For  instance  in  the  side  of  that  mass  of  granite  which 
lies  at  the  back  of  the  Tooth  Rock,  there  is  a  cavity  of  very 
great  extent,  which  from  its  position  cannot  hold  the  smallest 
quantity  of  water.  Others  there  are  on  the  under  surface  of 
the  rocks,  a  circumstance  which  makes  the  improbability 
of  ascribing  them  to  the  labour  or  the  art  of  man  more  strong 
and  more  manifest. 

The  large  basons  at  Peninnis  you  may,  without  much 
difficulty  inspect. 

Davies  Gilbert  quotes  from  Mr.  Bond's  Topographical 
and  Historical  Sketches  of  the  Boroughs  of  East  and  West 
Looe,  the  following  notice  of  some  rock-basons,  in  the 
parish  of  St.  Cleer,  and  the  opinion  which  he  formed 
respecting  them.  "  The  basons  here  are  of  different  sizes, 
though  all  of  them  are  of  the  same  shape,  which  is  circular. 
Some  of  them  are  about  a  foot  and  a  half  in  diameter,  and 
six  or  eight  inches  deep;  others  not  so  large  or  deep. 
Never  having  seen  any  Druidical  basons  before,  and  having 
had  my  doubts  till  this  time,  whether  they  might  not  be 
natural  productions  caused  by  rain,  lightning,  &c.  I  was 
led  to  examine  other  rocks,  whether  they  had  (though 
equally  exposed  to  the  weather)  similar  formations,  but 
*  Vol.  iv,  p.  175. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  81 

could  not  find  a  bason  on  any  rock  that  was  not  singular 
either  for  its  shape  or  situation.  I  therefore  concluded  that 
these  basons  were  the  work  of  art,  and  not  of  nature ;  and 
I  think  they  were  not  intended  for  the  purpose  of  receiving 
the  rain  for  common  uses,  for  if  so,  why  were  they  not 
made  on  rocks  of  easy  access  ?  It  is  possible,  however, 
that  rain  being  held  in  a  natural  hollow  of  a  rock,  may 
decompose  that  part  of  the  rock  on  which  it  rests,  and  being 
whirled  about  by  the  wind  from  time  to  time,  may  form 
these  basons  which  we  attribute  to  art;  and  if  this  is  the 
case,  they  must  continue  increasing  in  size  and  depth. 
Have  such  basons  ever  been  seen  but  on  granite  rocks  ?  If 
not,  probably  water  dissolves  the  feltspar  and  disunites  the 
quartz  and  mica;  and  the  winds  driving  round  the  water 
with  particles  of  quartz  at  the  bottom  of  the  bason,  must 
consequently  fret  away  the  rock  and  enlarge  the  bason." 

That  this  is  the  origin  of  these  curious  basons  I  have 
ventured  to  assert  is  not  only  possible  but  probable. 

Again  he  speaks  of  "  the  largest  Druidical  bason  we  had 
met  with  which  had  a  lip  or  channel  facing  the  South.  We 
found  it  to  be  about  three  feet  and  a  half  (42  inches)  in 
diameter.  We  did  not  take  its  depth,  but  I  think  it  must 
have  been  about  a  foot ;  it  was  of  a  circular  form."  *  I 
have  taken  some  pains  to  obtain  an  exact  measurement  of  the 
basons  at  Peninnis  for  the  satisfaction  or  amusement  of  those 
who  are  curious  in  these  matters.  They  are  as  follows  :  the 
smaller  bason  has  a  diameter  of  twenty  three  inches  and  is 
nearly  regularly  rounded.  Of  the  larger  basons  one  is  pretty 

*  p.  101. 

82  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

nearly  circular  with  a  diameter  of  sixty-seven  inches  and  a 
depth  of  thirty-six  inches.  Its  circumference  is  nineteen 
feet.  The  other  is  slightly  oval,  having  a  longer  diameter  of 
sixty-six  inches,  and  a  shorter  diameter  of  fifty-eight  inches, 
with  a  mean  depth  of  thirty-six  inches. 

It  will,  hence,  be  seen  that  the  "  largest  bason"  in  those 
huge  rocks  "  of,  I  should  suppose,  a  thousand  tons  weight"  * 
is  not  so  much  as  two-thirds  of  the  size  of  the  basons  which 
you  are  now  surveying,  and  not  more  than  one-third  of 
them  in  depth.  The  rock  in  which  these  are  found  is  only 
a  few  tons  in  weight. 

Leaving  this  very  curious  group  I  would  advise  you 
to  return  to  the  margin  of  the  sea,  and  scramble  over  the 
rocks  which  project  into  the  water.  If  the  tide  is  sufficiently 
low  you  will  easily  find  your  way  to  the  outer  points  of  this 
amphitheatre  of  rocks.  You  may  even  plant  your  foot  on  that 
which,  from  its  peculiar  shape,  is  called  the  Monk's  Cowl, 
and  which  is  one  hundred  and  four  feet,  seven  inches  in 

From  this  giddy  elevation  you  must  retrace  your  steps  and 
find  the  way  into  Pitt's  Parlour.  The  Tooth  Rock,  which  you 
will  at  once  recognize  by  its  resemblance  to  the  name  it  bears, 
and  which,  according  to  Woodley,  "  is  thought  by  some  to 
have  been  a  distinguished  object  of  Druidical  veneration," 
will  be  the  best  guide  to  this  curious  chamber.  It  stands 
on  high  ground,  at  a  short  distance  Southwards,  from  the 
Kettle  and  Pans.  Troutbeck  gives  its  measurement  as 
"  twelve  feet  broad  at  the  bottom  and  tapering  to  the  top, 

which  is  thirty  feet  high." 

*  Bond. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  83 

The  Parlour  which  is  distinguished  by  the  name  of  Pitt 
lies  just  under  this  singular  rock.  If  any  one  is  curious  to 
know  why  this  nook  in  the  rocks  is  so  called,  he  may  be  told, 
that  in  days  long  since  gone  by,  a  party  of  friends,  of  whom 
a  Mr.  Pitt  was  one,  were  wont  to  spend  their  summer 
evenings  together  in  this  retired  and  romantic  spot. 

From  this  height,  as  you  will  easily  imagine,  you  may 
command  a  fine  view  of  the  Southern  ocean,  when  lashed 
into  fury  by  a  storm.  If  the  wind  has  prevailed  for  some 
time  from  the  South  or  the  South  West,  the  waves  break 
very  grandly  at  the  base  of  the  rocks  on  one  of  which  you 
are  securely  seated,  the  sheets  of  spray  dash  beautifully  over 
the  masses  of  granite  which  so  firmly  await  their  onset,  and 
with  a  deafening  roar  the  tide  rushes  up  the  narrow  ravine 
or  channel  which,  in  the  lapse  of  ages,  the  waters  have  hollow- 
ed for  themselves  beneath  you.  It  is  scarcely  necessary  to 
direct  a  visitor's  attention  to  the  large  masses  of  rock  before 
him  and  above  him  and  on  either  side  of  him.  Troutbeck 
speaks  of  them  as  "  causing  by  their  height  and  ponderosity 
astonishment  and  admiration  in  the  beholders."  The  semi- 
circle of  high,  bold  rocks,  which  is  crowned  by  the  Monk's 
Cowl,  presents  a  grand  appearance,  as  you  retire  from 
Pitt's  Parlour;  and  the  fine  blocks  of  granite,  of  every 
shape  and  size,  scattered  in  all  directions  add  greatly  to  the 
grandeur  of  the  scene.  By  going  to  the  other  side  of  the 
ravine  which  lies  beneath  and  opposite  to  the  Parlour,  the 
visiter  will  have  a  different  and  not  less  imposing  view  of 
this  rocky  promontory.  Here,  too,  imbedded  among  huge 
piles  of  rock,  is  Sleep's  abode,  (called  also  a  parlour).  It  is 

84  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

both  difficult  of  approach  and  hard  to  be  found ;  but  the 
trouble  of  searching  it  out  is  well  rewarded  by  a  sight  of  the 
vast  masses  of  rock  which  are  there  heaped  together. 

Leaving,  however,  Peninnis  Head,  the  tourist  must  press 
on  in  an  Easterly  direction  towards  Old  Town.  He  will 
pass  in  his  progress  several  rocks  of  curious  shapes  and 
various  dimensions.  On  the  right  is  a  far-extending  and 
irregular  field  of  rock,  for  almost  every  part  of  which  the 
islanders  have  a  particular  name.  Here  you  may  find  the 
Jolly  Rock,  marked  in  the  map,  which  is  often  visited  by 
fishing  parties ;  and  here  too,  in  the  cliff,  is  Piper's  Hole, 
at  the  distance  of  fifteen  or  twenty  feet  from  the  turf  upon 
which  we  are  treading.  Troutbeck  calls  it  "  a  large  subter- 
raneous cavern  next  the  sea,  which  at  high  water  washes 
the  entrance  of  it."  "  Going  in  at  the  orifice"  he  adds  "  it  is 
above  a  man's  height,  and  of  as  much  space  in  its  breadth, 
but  further  in  it  grows  narrower  and  lower.  A  little  distance 
from  the  entrance  within  appear  some  rock  basons  contin- 
ually running  over  with  fresh  water,  descending  as  it  distils 
from  the  sides  of  the  rocky  passage."  A  visiter  will  be 
surprized  to  see  the  insignificant  place  of  which  this  is  the 
description.  It  is  scarcely  worth  the  fatigue  and  trouble  of 
a  search,  unless  it  be  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  a  draught 
from  the  clear  spring  of  fresh  water  which  is  certainly  found 
within  the  cave. 

From  Piper's  Hole  the  distance  is  but  short  to  the  Pulpit 
Rock,  of  which  the  dimensions,  as  you  now  neady  approach 
it,  will  appear  more  and  more  considerable.  It  is  difficult  to 
conceive  a  rock  more  curiously  perched  than  that  which 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  85 

bears  this  appropriate  name.  It  consists  of  a  flat  rock 
forty-seven  feet  in  length  and  twelve  feet  in  (mean)  breadth, 
branching  out  from  a  short,  thick  rock  as  from  a  pillar.  It 
projects  horizontally  over  a  smaller  rock,  which  might  well 
serve  as  a  pulpit  to  one,  who  with  a  voice  louder  than  that  of 
Stentor  would  essay  to  address  in  language  of  exhortation 
or  command  the  captains  of  a  fleet  assembled  on  the  waters 
beneath  him.  The  flat  rock  above  his  head  would  worthily 
supply  the  place  of  a  sounding  board;  and  if  it  were 
possible  to  conceive  the  voice  of  man  reaching  from  this 
point  to  sailors  on  the  deep  below,  the  pulpit  and  the  sound- 
ing board  would  be  in  good  keeping  with  the  grandeur  and 
sublimity  of  the  scene.  You  may,  if  you  are  so  disposed, 
mount  to  the  top  of  the  sounding  board ;  you  will  thus  be 
able  to  form  a  more  correct  opinion  of  the  length  and 
breadth  of  this  curious  rock,  which  is  one  of  the  most 
conspicuous  features  in  the  scenery  of  the  coast.  The  view 
on  all  sides  is  exceedingly  fine.  Immediately  beneath  you 
towards  the  sea  are  vast  masses  of  rock,  very  many  tons  in 
weight;  at  a  short  distance  from  the  shore  is  a  solitary  mass 
of  granite  called  Carrickstarne ;  and  on  the  Eastern  side  of 
the  Bay,  a  bold,  rocky  clirT  stretching  towards  the  main 
land.  Nor  are  the  other  features  in  the  scene  less  calculated 
to  draw  attention.  Cam  Lea,  the  extreme  point  of  Old 
Town  Bay  to  the  West,  the  Bay  itself  with  its  sandy  beach, 
the  remains  of  the  old  church  and  the  grave  stones  around 
it,  the  cluster  of  cottages  in  Old  Town  and  the  green  fields 
and  meadows,  varying  the  prospect  and  relieving  the  eye, 
will  all  claim  some  share  of  notice  and  remark. 

86  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

It  is  possible  to  reach  Old  Town  by  a  nearly  direct  route, 
if  the  visiter  is  disposed  to  force  his  way  over  rocks  and 
rough  hedges  of  stones ;  and  he  will  thus  have  the  advantage 
of  seeing  Carn  Lea  more  closely.  But  I  would  recommend 
him  to  take  an  easier  course,  and  to  find  the  path  which 
leads  to  the  Tower,  standing  about  two  hundred  yards  from 
Pulpit  Rock.  This  tower  was  chosen  by  a  party  of  the 
Sappers  and  Miners  under  the  direction  of  Serjeant  Steel, 
as  the  spot  from  which  to  make  their  trigonometrical 
observations.  Its  height  above  mean  water  has  been 
determined  by  them  to  be  one  hundred  and  forty  one  feet. 
From  this  tower  the  tourist  will  find  a  narrow  road  in  the 
direction  towards  the  church ;  and  at  the  point  where  it 
meets  the  main  road,  leading  to  the  church  and  Hugh  Town, 
he  must  change  his  course;  and  choosing  the  direction 
which  leads  towards  Old  Town,  he  may  cross  the  fields  by 
the  path  of  which  I  have  before  spoken,  and  pay  a  visit  to 
the  church-yard. 

Only  a  small  portion  of  the  old  church,  as  before  ob- 
served, is  standing.  It  was  built  in  the  form  of  a  cross ; 
though  at  what  period  is  uncertain.  It  appears  from  Trout- 
beck's  narrative  to  have  been  enlarged  in  1662,  by  the 
addition  of  a  North  aisle ;  and  from  a  memorandum  in  the 
earliest  of  the  parish  register  books,  we  learn  "  that  the 
Southern  isle  of  the  church  of  Saint  Mary's,  in  Scilly,  was 
began  to  be  built  on  the  sixth  day  of  June,  1677."  *  The 
length  of  the  church  from  East  to  West,"  says  Troutbeck, 

*  In  the  same  register  is  the  following  entry.  Scilly,  November  21st, 
1742.  Bryher  Chapel  was  dedicated  to  the  pious  memory  of  All  Saints, 
By  me,  Paul  Hathaway,  minister  to  the  Islands  of  Scilly. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  87 

"  is  sixty  feet,  and  the  breadth  of  that  part  is  nineteen  feet ; 
the  length  of  the  cross  aisle,  including  the  breadth  of  the 
middle  part  of  the  church,  is  sixty-two  feet,  and  the  breadth 
of  the  cross  aisles  is  sixteen  feet."  That  the  church  had 
greatly  fallen  into  decay,  partly  through  age,  yet  more 
through  neglect,  may  be  gathered  from  the  pages  of 
Troutbeck,  which  disclose  a  lamentable  want  of  care  for  the 
sacred  building.  Its  ruinous  condition  may  be  inferred 
from  his  unvarnished  statement,  "in  a  few  years,  in  all 
probability,  the  church  will  want  a  new  roof,  as  it  is  now 
very  bad : "  and  the  absence  of  a  due  concern  for  the 
maintenance  of  the  fabric,  and  the  niggardly  spirit  of  those 
in  authority,  is  shown  by  the  following  words,  "  the  steward 
says  he  has  no  orders  to  lay  out  any  money  in  the  repairs 
of  it  as  formerly."  Hence  arose  the  necessity  for  building 
the  church  which  now  stands  at  the  entrance  of  Hugh 
Town,  the  only  fault  of  which  is  that  it  is  not  sufficiently 
large  for  the  population. 

The  account  given  by  Woodley  of  the  church-yard  is 
happily  now  incorrect.  The  inequalities  of  the  ground, 
especially  on  the  Western  and  the  Southern  side,  render  it 
difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to  make  it  such  as  we  could  wish 
it  to  be,  symmetrical  and  orderly.  But  something  has  been 
done ;  and  the  ground  on  the  Eastern  side  is  well  arranged. 
It  is  in  contemplation  to  take  in  some  of  the  out-lying 
portions  of  fields  and  gardens ;  and,  by  continuing  the  wall 
recently  built,  to  enclose  a  larger  space  for  the  burial  of  the 


dead.  Every  one  will,  I  think,  acknowledge  that  the 
situation  of  the  church-yard  is  good.  The  high  grounds 

88  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

about  it,  towards  the  West,  are  planted  with  Scotch  firs; 
and  Carn  Lea,  which  seems  from  a  distance  to  form  its 
termination  towards  the  South  East,  adds  greatly  to  the 
interest  of  the  spot. 

From  the  church-yard  there  is  a  good  road  at  the  head  of 
Old  Town  bay.  "This  bay,  as  well  as  Porcrasa,  is  full  of 
spacious  ledges  of  hollow  rocks,  which  probably  were  once 
covered  with  land,  but  now  exhibit  a  dreary  appearance  at 
low  water,  and  are  very  dangerous  at  all  times."  *  In  this 
bay  the  conger  fishery  was  formerly  carried  on  to  a  great 
extent.  A  stone  trough,  which  will  be  pointed  out  to  you 
in  your  walk  to-morrow,  "  was  formerly  used  for  salting  fish 
in,  as  this  was  the  place  where  formerly  all  the  fish,  from 
every  island  were  brought  to  be  cured,  when  stages  were 
erected  in  a  field  adjoining,  for  drying  the  fish  in  the  sun."  f 
Large  supplies  of  the  fish  so  cured  were  carried  up  the 
Straits,  and  exported  to  other  places.  This  was  an  extensive 
branch  of  trade,  and  of  great  advantage  to  the  Isles,  until 
it  was  superseded  by  the  pilchard  fisheries  of  Mount's  Bay. 

The  Eastern  extremity  of  Old  Town  Bay,  is  called 
Tolman  Point.  A  legend  tells  that  from  this  point  the 
monks  were  wont  in  olden  time  to  levy  a  toll  on  all  vessels 
sailing  into  the  bay  :  and  thence  the  name.  Woodley 
suggests  a  different  etymology.  "Tolman"  he  says  "or 
rather  Tol-men  is  a  Cornu-British  word,  signifying  a  holed 
stone ;  and  by  analogy  a  covered  rocky  passage."  On  the 
question  suggested  by  this  hypothesis  of  Woodley,  I  will 
select  one  extract  from  Borlase  ;  though  the  reader  may 

*  Woodley.  t  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  89 

perhaps  think  that  there  is  good  reason  for  the  doubt 
expressed  by  Polwhele,  when  he  says  in  reference  to  the 
Tol-men  in  the  parish  of  Constantine,  "not  that  I  think 
with  Dr.  Borlase  that  it  was  shaped  by  art."*  Borlase 
thus  writes,  "There  is  another  kind  of  Stone-deity,  which 
has  never  been  taken  notice  of  by  any  Author  that  I  have 
heard  of.  It's  common  name  in  Cornwall  and  Scilly,  is 
Tolmen ;  that  is,  the  Hole  of  Stone.  It  consists  of  a  large 
Orbicular  Stone,  supported  by  two  Stones,  betwixt  which, 
there  is  a  passage.  There  are  two  of  these  in  the  Scilly 
Islands,  one  on  St.  Mary's  Island,  at  the  bottom  of  Salakee 
Downs ;  the  top  Stone  45  foot  in  girt,  horizontally  measur'd; 
the  other  in  the  little  island  of  Northwethel,  33  feet  in 
girt  horizontal,  by  24  perpendicular  measurement.  They 
are  both  in  the  decline  of  hills,  beneath  a  large  Karn  of 
Rocks,  standing  on  two  natural  supporters;  the  first  has 
one  exactly  round  Bason  on  it;  the  second  has  none, 
neither  are  there  any  Basons  on  the  Rocks  below,  or  near 
it;  but  elsewhere  on  the  Island  there  are  several.  Both 
these  are  probably  erected  by  Art,  and  the  Top-stones, 
large  as  they  are,  brought  from  the  Karns  above,  and 
plac'd  by  human  strength  where  we  see  them."  The  visiter 
will  judge  for  himself  whether  there  is  any  thing  in  the 
appearance  of  these  rocks  to  justify  Mr.  Woodley's 

About  midway  between  this  point  and  Cam  Lea,  is  the 
Gull  Rock,  and  at  some  distance  to  the  South  of  it  is 
another  rock,  called  the  Gilstone. 

*  Vocabulary  to  Polwhele's  Cornwall. 

90  A    WEEK    IX    THE 

The  Carn  which  rears  its  head  at  the  South  of  the  houses 
in  Old  Town,  bears  the  same  name  as  the  point.  Near  it 
"is  a  sod  battery,  where  is  now  only  one  gun,  a  four- 
pounder,  dismounted.  There  were  three  guns  upon  this 
battery  within  fifty  years  past,  two  of  which  were  taken 
away  about  forty  years  since,  by  order  of  the  government."  * 
This  single  piece  was  removed  upwards  of  thirty  years 

Passing  through  the  little  village  of  Old  Town,  the 
visiter  will  see  upon  his  left  the  rocks  on  which  the  Castle 
formerly  stood.  There  are  still  some  small  remains  of  the 
Northern  wall.  The  height  on  which  the  Castle  was  built, 
is  scarcely  less  than  one  hundred  feet  above  the  level  of  the 
sea.  It  is  said  to  have  been  beaten  down  by  Oliver  Crom- 
well; many  of  the  stones  were  removed  from  the  ruins 
about  fifty  years  ago,  and  used  in  building  the  cottages, 
which  lie  near  it  on  the  road. 

At  a  short  distance  from  Old  Town  towards  the  North 
East,  is  one  of  the  best  gardens  in  the  island.  The  myrtle 
hedges,  and  other  plants  rarely  found,  except  in  greenhouses, 
on  the  main  land,  which  are  growing  here  in  great  beauty, 
give  good  proof  of  the  advantages  both  of  soil  and  climate 
enjoyed  in  the  islands,  and  show  that  floriculture  may  be 
carried  to  any  extent,  if  only  the  hurtful  effects  of  storm  and 
wind  can  be  prevented  by  seasonable  shelter.  Dr.  Borlase  has 
made  the  same  observation.  "Roots  of  all  kinds,  Pulse  and 
Sallets  grow  well ;  Dwarf  Fruit-trees,  Gooseberries,  Currants, 
Rasberries,  all  Shrubs,  and  whatever  rises  not  above  their 

*  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  91 

Hedges  do  very  well ;  and  even  these  would  do  better,  if  they 
would  provide  against  storms,  by  planting  shelters  of  Elder, 
Dutch-elm,  Sycamore,  and  the  like,  in  Clumps  and  Hedge- 
rows ;  and  'till  they  can  reconcile  themselves  to  the  trouble 
and  time  of  raising  such  shelters,  all  their  Vegetables  must 
be  exposed,  in  proportion  to  their  height,  to  the  winds ;  but 
to  tell  you  the  truth,  the  true  spirit  of  Planting  either  has 
never  reached  here,  or  has  been  forced  to  give  way  to  more 
necessary  calls."  At  a  short  distance  from  this  garden  on 
the  left  is  Parting  Cam,  called  by  Troutbeck,  Parton  Cam ; 
and  a  quarter  of  a  mile  further  on  the  right  hand  is 
Tremelethen.  The  gardens  and  orchards  belonging  to  this 
farm  will  show  you  the  produce  of  the  Island.  It  consists, 
chiefly,  of  a  great  variety  of  apples;  and  the  trees  at 
Tremelethen  have  the  advantage  of  a  warm  aspect  and 
good  shelter. 

Continuing  your  walk  along  the  road  which  is  now  in 
progress,  you  will  gain  a  view  of  the  comfortable  farm  at 
Longstone,  rejoicing  in  the  warmth  of  a  Southern  sky;  but, 
before  you  reach  it,  the  road  changes  its  direction  and  bears 
towards  the  farms  at  Carnifriers.  This  is,  no  doubt,  a 
corruption  of  Carn  Friars,  as  a  small  heap  of  rocks,  lying 
near  to  these  farms  is  so  called.  Troutbeck  speaks  of  this  part 
of  the  island  as  "  a  village  which  consists  of  several  farm 
houses  and  some  cottages ;"  a  description  which  can  scarcely 
be  said  now  to  apply  to  it,  as  there  are  but  two  farms  and 
two  other  cottages  in  this  immediate  spot. 

Leaving  these  farms  on  your  right  I  would  advise  you  to 
make  your  way  over  a  gently  sloping  field  which  lies  nearly 

92  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

North  East  from  Carn  Friars.  At  the  farther  corner  of  this 
field  is  a  rough  road  which  will  guide  you  to  a  farm  called 
Normandy  towards  the  Eastern  extremity  of  St.  Mary's. 
Thence  your  way  must  be  Northward,  across  a  common  and 
along  a  road,  presenting  a  succession  of  pretty  views,  to 
Maypole,  as  the  Hill  is  called  which  surmounts  Holy  Vale. 
This  Hill  affords  one  of  the  prettiest  prospects  on  St.  Mary's. 
At  its  foot  is  Holy  Vale  a  pleasant  sheltered  nook,  with  four 
good  substantial  farm  houses.  About  a  century  ago  this 
farm  belonged  to  a  family  of  the  name  of  Grudge,  the  last 
member  of  which  died  in  November,  1848,  at  the  advanced 
age  of  ninety-seven.  "Mr.  William  Grudge  was  deputy 
Commissary  of  Ministers  in  1751,  and  his  grand-father, 
Mr.  John  Grudge,  married  Ursula,  second  daughter  cf  Sir 
Francis  Godolphin."  *  This  central  farm  "  lies  warm,  well 
exposed  towards  a  little  Southern  Cove,  called  Forth  Hellick 
and  so  well  sheltered  from  the  North  winds,  that  trees  grow 
very  well  here,  of  which  a  few  tall  ones  are  sufficient  proof; 
and  I  am  persuaded  that  every  kind  of  fruit  tree  common  in 
England  might  be  propogated  here  with  success."  *  One 
of  the  finest  trees,  a  sycamore,  was  cut  down,  I  am  told,  to 
make  room  for  the  house  which  now  stands  at  right  angles 
to  the  principal  building.  The  original  farm,  or,  more 
correctly,  the  farm  which  was  built  after  the  first  was 
destroyed  by  fire,  consisted  of  the  two  central  houses.  The 
neat  gardens  in  Holy  Vale,  in  which  there  are  some  choice 
myrtles  and  a  fine  aloe,  just  now  coming  into  bloom,  will 
draw  the  attention  of  the  visiter. 

*  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  93 

The  road,  for  a  short  distance  is  shaded  by  trees,  which, 
screened  from  the  violence  of  the  winds,  are  of  a  less  stunted 
growth  than  elsewhere  in  the  islands.  As  soon  as  you  have 
passed  their  friendly  shelter,  a  stile  upon  the  left  hand  will 
direct  you  to  a  foot-path  which  winds  in  a  pretty  circuit 
towards  the  South.  By  taking  this  path  we  secure  a  view  of 
the  orchards  and  gardens  belonging  to  Holy  Vale,  and  reach 
the  high  ground  above  Longstone. 

From  this  elevation  a  nearer  view  of  the  fresh  water  at 
Forth  Hellick  and  of  the  inland  scenery  of  St.  Mary's  is 
obtained.  The  path  above  the  farm  will  conduct  us  to  the 
new  road,  nearly  at  the  point  which  bears  towards  Tremelethen. 
You  will  find  the  return  to  the  town  expedited  by  the  road 
which  is  thus  far  complete,  and  which  will  surprize  you  by  its 
width,  and  by  the  good  stone  hedges  which  on  either  side 
form  its  boundary.  A  seat  will  presently  invite  you  to  rest 
awhile;  and,  as  it  is  conveniently  placed  and  commands  a 
pleasant  prospect,  you  may  be  disposed  to  accept  the  accom- 
modation which  it  offers.  The  initials  on  the  stone  will  tell 
you  by  whose  care  and  kindness  it  is  here  placed;  and, 
together  with  the  date,  will  inform  you  under  whose  auspices 
the  good  road  was  formed  which  offers  to  conduct  you  to 
your  inn. 

THERE  is  more  than  sufficient  for  one  day's  employment  yet 
remaining  to  be  seen  in  St.  Mary's.  Starting  therefore  early, 
we  will  resume  our  examination  of  the  Coast  at  the  Eastern 
point  of  Old  Town  Bay.  Here  the  visiter  will  find  a  foot- 
path in  front  of  some  cottages  near  to  the  sea,  which  will  guide 
him  to  the  rocks  on  the  Southern  side  of  the  island ;  and  these 
are  to  be  explored  to-day.  There  are  several  fine  Cams  and 
masses  of  Granite  in  this  part  of  the  island  which  deserve  a 
careful  survey. 

At  the  North  East  corner  of  the  Bay  is  the  trough  of 
which  I  said  something  in  the  excursion  of  yesterday.  It 
"  consists  of  only  one  stone,  and  will  hold  eighteen  Winchester 
bushels.  It  was  dug  from  a  quarry  upon  Sallakey  Downs, 
about  half-a-mile  distant."  *  It  is  now  in  a  great  measure 
concealed ;  for  it  supports  an  outhouse  or  shed ;  but,  as  it  is 
placed  at  the  outer  corner,  there  is  no  difficulty  in  discovering 

Passing  Forth  Minick  with  its  white  gravelly  beach,  we 
•  Troutbeck. 

96  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

arrive  at  Blue  Cam.  This  name  describes  the  mass  of  rocks 
which  forms  the  cliff  at  the  Southern  point  of  the  isle  :  but 
it  is  usually  distinguished  as  the  Inner  and  the  Outer  Cam. 
The  Inner  Cam  is  chiefly  remarkable  for  its  laminated 
appearance ;  and  this  form  is  characteristic  of  many  of  the 
rocks.  At  the  North  West  side  of  the  Gugh  there  is  a  very 
beautiful  block  of  granite,  (which  I  omitted  to  point  out  in 
the  third  excursion)  thus,  as  it  were,  distributed  in  successive 
layers ;  and  many  such  may  be  seen  on  all  the  Isles.  The 
outer  Cam,  that  most  to  the  South  East,  is  a  very  singular 
group  of  rocks  piled  upon  each  other  in  every  variety  of  form. 

Church  Point  and  Ledge  is  the  name  given  to  the  next 
mass  of  rocks  projecting  into  the  water.  The  name  is 
probably  derived  from  the  circumstance  that  the  outer  point 
of  this  ledge  being  in  a  line  with  the  Old  Church  is  a  mark 
for  pilots. 

In  the  Bay  somewhat  more  to  the  East,  which  is  over-hung 
by  the  Giant's  Castle,  it  is  easy  to  land  from  a  boat,  however 
large.  Upon  high  ground  at  the  South  Eastern  corner  of 
this  bay  once  stood  the  Giants'  Castle,  of  which  Troutbeck 
gives  a  full  account.  "  It  was  probably  "  he  says  "  designed 
by  the  Danes  as  a  retreat  from  the  Saxons,  in  case  they 
should  be  cut  off  from  their  ships,  and  certainly  it  must  have 
been  a  place  of  great  strength  in  those  times,  especially  if 
they  had  plenty  of  provisions  within  it."  Borlase  thus  speaks 
of  it  "  This  Castle  is  situated  on  a  promontory,  which  towards 
the  sea  is  an  immense  crag  of  rocks,  as  if  heaped  on  each 
other  :  this  heap,  or  turret  of  rocks  declines  also  quick,  but 
not  so  rough  towards  the  land,  and  then  spreads  to  join  the 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  97 

downs,  where  at  the  foot  of  this  knoll  it  has  first  a  ditch 
crossing-  the  neck  of  land  from  sea  to  sea;  then  a  low 
Vullum  of  the  same  direction ;  next,  a  second  ditch  and  a 
higher  Vallum ;  lastly,  near  the  top  of  this  crag,  it  had  a  wall 
of  stone  encompassing  every  part,  but  where  the  natural  rocks 
were  a  sufficient  security ;  this  wall  by  the  ruins  appears 
to  have  been  very  high  and  thick.  It  is  call'd,  as  I  said  but 
now,  the  Giant's  Castle,  the  common  people  in  these  islands 
us  well  as  elsewhere,  attributing  all  extraordinary  works  to 
giants.  \\  e  have  many  of  these  Castles  on  the  Cornish  cliffs ; 
they  seem  designed  by  pirates  and  invaders  to  protect  them- 
selves whilst  they  were  landing  their  forces,  ammunition  and 
implements  of  war,  and  to  secure  a  safe  retreat  towards  their 
ships  in  case  of  need.  I  am  apt  therefore  to  think  that  such 
Cliff-Castles  are  as  ancient  as  the  times  of  the  Danish,  if  not 
of  the  Saxon,  invasions."  The  visiter  will  form  his  own 
opinion  upon  the  subject.  By  those  who  have  had  an  oppor- 
tunity of  comparing  this  with  more  undoubted  vestiges  of  a 
hostile  encampment,  with  Brahane  Ring,  for  instance,  in  the 
Parish  ofSancreed,  it  will  be  acknowledged  that  the  evidence 
in  favour  of  such  a  supposition  is  comparatively  small.  There 
is  indeed  some  appearance  of  entrenchments  and  fortifications, 
though  it  is  difficult  to  conceive  for  what  purpose  they  can 
have  been  constructed,  unless  we  suppose  the  island  to  have 
been  of  far  greater  extent  formerly  than  now.  The  highest 
point  of  this  heap  of  rocks  commands  a  good  view  of  the 
coast,  in  its  windings  by  Old  Town  to  Peninnis ;  or,  looking 
Eastwards,  of  the  promontories  of  rock,  which  one  after 
another  jut  out  into  the  waters. 

98  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

On  the  Western  side  of  this  Carn,  just  above  the  cliff,  is 
the  Logan  Rock,  which  has  the  great  advantage  of  being 
easily  accessible  and  easily  moved.  Its  weight  is  calculated 
to  be  forty-five  tons. 

Not  far  from  the  Logan  Rock  "  near  half-way  down  the 
hill,  next  the  sea  is  a  cave,  among  the  rocks,  called  Tom 
Butt's  bed,  which  is  very  dangerous  and  difficult  to  get  at, 
the  ground  being  so  steep  about  it,  so  called  from  a  boy  who 
concealed  himself  in  it,  three  days  and  three  nights  in  the 
reign  of  Queen  Anne,  for  fear  of  being  impressed  on  board 
a  man  of  war."  * 

On  the  downs  to  the  North  of  Giant's  Castle  there  are 
many  sepulchral  barrows.  Borlase  thus  describes  them  in 
his  Antiquities  of  Cornwall.  "There  is  a  very  singular 
kind  of  Barrow  which  obtains  throughout  all  the  Scilly 
Islands;  they  are  edg'd  with  large  stones,  which  form  the 
outward  Ring ;  in  the  middle  they  have  a  cavity  wall'd  on 
each  side,  and  cover'd  with  large  flat  stones,  and  over  all  is 
a  Tumulus  of  small  Stones  and  Earth,  in  some  more  of 
Earth  than  Stones,  in  others  vice  versa.  Upon  opening  it,  in 
the  middle  of  the  Barrow  we  found  a  large  Cavity,  full  of 
Earth ;  there  was  a  passage  into  it  at  the  Eastern  end,  one 
foot  eight  inches  wide,  between  two  stones  set  on  end.  In 
the  middle  it  was  four  feet  eight  inches  wide,  the  length  of  it 
twenty-two  feet.  It  was  wall'd  on  each  side  with  Masonry 
and  Mortar,  the  sides  four  feet  ten  inches  high;  at  the 
Western  end  it  had  a  large  flat  Stone  which  terminated 
the  Cavity,  its  length  bore  E.  and  by  N.  and  it  was  cover'd 

*  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  99 

from  end  to  end  with  large  flat  Stones,  several  of  which  we 
removed  in  order  to  get  the  exact  dimensions  of  the  Cavity, 
and  others  had  been  carried  off  for  building.  Forty-two 
feet  distant,  to  the  N.  E.  we  opened  another  Barrow  of  the 
same  kind.  The  Cave  was  less  in  all  respects,  but  of  the 
same  shape;  the  length  bore  N.  E.  by  E.  14  feet,  the  walled 
sides  two  feet  high ;  where  the  Cavity  was  narrowest,  it  was 
but  one  foot  eight  inches,  in  the  middle  four  foot,  and  at  the 
S.  W.  end  two  feet  wide  in  the  bottom.  On  one  side,  in  the 
floor,  was  a  small  round  Cavity,  dug  deeper  than  the  rest. 
It  was  cover'd  with  flat  Rocks  as  the  former.  In  both  these 
we  found  neither  Bone  nor  Urn,  but  some  strong  unctuous 
Earth,  of  different  colours  from  the  natural,  which  smelt 
cadaverous.  The  reason  why  these  Cavities  were  made  so 
much  beyond  the  dimensions  of  the  human  body,  was 
probably  that  they  might  contain  the  Remains  not  of  one 
person  only,  but  of  whole  families,  it  being  usual  among  the 
ancients  for  particular  families  to  have  separate  Burying 
Places.  The  vulgar,  however,  are  not  easily  persuaded,  but 
that  these  Graves  were  made  according  to  the  size  of  the 
Body  there  interr'd,  and  they  are  still  called  in  these  Islands, 
The  Giants  Graves."  Urns  and  other  relics  have,  I  am 
told,  been  discovered  in  the  vicinity  of  these  barrows,  though 
I  have  no  conclusive  evidence  of  the  fact. 

1  hiving  passed  two  small  bays  the  visiter  will  next  come 
to  .Newfoundland  Korks  and  Newfoundland  Point.  It  was 
on  this  part  of  the  coast  that  a  French  vessel  drifted  in  with 
its  kt-el  uppermost,  and  yet  affording  the  means  of  preser- 
vation to  four  of  its  crew.  It  will,  I  think,  be  expected 

100  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

that  I  should  transcribe  the  account  of  so  marvellous  an 
occurrence  into  these  pages. 

"The  Brig  '  Nerina,'  of  Dunkerque,  sailed  from  that  place 
on  Saturday,  the  31st  of  October,  1840,  under  the  command 
of  Capt.  PIERRE  EVERAERT,  with  a  cargo  of  oil  and  can- 
vass for  Marseilles:  her  burthen  was  about  114  tons;  the 
crew  consisted  of  seven  persons,  including  the  captain  and 
his  nephew,  a  boy  14  years  old. 

"At  3  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  of  Monday  the  16th  of 
November,  they  were  forced  to  heave-to  in  a  gale  of  wind, 
at  about  ten  or  twelve  leagues  S.  W.  of  the  Scilly  Islands. 
At  7  o'clock  of  the  same  evening,  still  lying-to  under  their 
close  reefed  main-top-sail  and  balanced  reefed  main-sail,  a 
heavy  sea  struck  the  vessel,  and  she  suddenly  capsized, 
turning  completely  bottom  up. 

"  The  only  man  on  the  deck  at  the  time  was  named 
BOUMELARD,  who  was  instantly  engulfed  in  the  ocean.  In 
the  forecastle  were  three  seamen — VINCENT,  VANTAURE, 
and  JEAN  MARIE  :  the  two  former,  by  seizing  hold  of  the 
windlass-bits  succeeded  in  getting  up  close  to  the  keelson, 
and  so  kept  their  heads  above  water.  Poor  JEAN  MARIE 
was  not  so  fortunate, — he  must  have  been  in  some  measure 
entangled;  as,  after  convulsively  grasping  the  heel  of 
VANTAURE  for  a  few  seconds,  he  let  go  his  hold  and  was 
drowned.  His  body  was  never  seen  afterwards.  The  other 
two,  finding  that  the  shock  of  the  upset  had  started  the 
bulkhead  between  the  forecastle  and  the  hold,  and  that  the 
cargo  itself  had  fallen  down  on  the  deck,  contrived  to  draw 
themselves  on  their  faces  close  alongside  the  keelson,  (for  it 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  101 

could  not  be  called  on  their  hands  and  knees  for  want  of 
height)  towards  the  stern  of  the  ship,  from  whence  they 
thought  they  heard  some  voices. 

"At  the  time  of  the  accident,  the  captain,  the  mate  JEAN 
GALLO,  and  the  boy  NICHOLAS  NISSEN,  were  in  the  cabin. 
The  captain  caught  the  boy  in  his  arms,  under  the  full 
impression  that  their  last  moments  had  arrived. 

"  The  mate  succeeded  in  wrenching  open  the  trap-hatch 
in  the  cabin  deck,  and  in  clearing  out  some  casks  which 
were  jammed  in  the  lazarette  (a  sort  of  small  triangular 
space  between  the  cabin  floor  and  the  keelson,  where  stores 
are  generally  stowed  away) :  having  effected  this,  he  scram- 
bled up  into  the  vacant  space  and  took  the  boy  from  the 
hands  of  the  captain,  whom  he  then  assisted  to  follow  them. 

"  In  about  an  hour  they  were  joined  by  VINCENT  and 
VANTAURE  from  the  forecastle.  There  were  then  five 
individuals  closely  cooped  together :  as  they  sat  they  were 
obliged  to  bend  their  bodies  for  want  of  height  above  them, 
whilst  the  water  reached  as  high  as  their  waists ;  from  which 
irksome  position  one  at  a  time  obtained  some  relief  by 
stretching  at  full-length  on  the  barrels  in  the  hold,  squeezing 
himself  up  close  to  the  keelson. 

"  They  were  able  to  distinguish  between  day  and  night  by 
the  light  striking  from  above  into  the  sea,  and  being  reflected 
up  through  the  cabin  sky-light,  and  then  into  the  lazarette 
through  the  trap-hatch  in  the  cabin  floor. 

"  The  day  and  night  of  Tuesday  the  17th,  and  day  of  Wed- 

day  the   18th,  passed   without  food,  without  relief,  and 

almost  without  hope ;  but  still  each  encouraged  the  others, 

102  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

when  neither  could  hold  out  hope  to  himself, — endeavouring 
to  assuage  the  pangs  of  hunger  by  chewing  the  bark  strip- 
ped off  from  the  hoops  of  the  casks.  Want  of  fresh  air 
threatening  them  with  death  by  suffocation,  the  mate  worked 
almost  incessantly  for  two  days  and  one  night  in  endeavour- 
ing, with  his  knife,  to  cut  a  hole  through  the  hull.  Happily 
the  knife  broke  before  he  had  succeeded  in  accomplishing 
his  object,  the  result  of  which  must  have  proved  fatal,  as 
the  confined  air  alone  preserved  the  vessel  in  a  sufficiently 
buoyant  state. 

"In  the  dead  of  the  night  of  Wednesday  the  18th,  the 
vessel  suddenly  struck  heavily :  on  the  third  blow  the  stern 
dropped  so  much  that  all  hands  were  forced  to  make  the 
best  of  their  way,  one  by  one,  further  towards  the  bows ;  in 
attempting  which  poor  VINCENT  was  caught  by  the  water 
and  drowned,  falling  down  through  the  cabin  floor  and  sky- 

"After  the  lapse  of  an  hour  or  two,  finding  the  water  to 
ebb,  GALLO  got  down  into  the  cabin,  and  whilst  seeking 
for  the  hatchet,  which  was  usually  kept  there,  was  forced 
to  rush  again  for  shelter  to  the  lazarette,  to  avoid  being 
drowned  by  the  sea,  which  rose  on  him  with  fearful  rapidity. 
Another  hour  or  two  of  long  suffering  succeeded,  when 
they  were  rejoiced  to  see  by  the  dawning  of  the  day  of 
Thursday  the  19th,  that  the  vessel  was  fast  on  rocks,  one 
of  which  projected  up  through  the  sky-light.  The  captain 
then  went  down  into  the  cabin,  and  found  that  the  quarter 
of  the  ship  was  stoved ;  and  looking  through  the  opening, 
he  called  out  to  his  companions  above,  '  Grace  a  Dieu  nies 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  103 

enfans,  nous  sommes  sauves  !  je  vois  un  homme  a  terre  ! ' 
(Thank  God,  my  children,  we  are  saved  !  I  see  a  man  on 
the  beach  !)  Immediately  after  this  the  man  approached 
and  put  in  his  hand,  which  the  captain  seized,  almost  as 
much  to  the  terror  of  the  poor  man  as  to  the  intense  delight 
of  the  captain.  Several  people  of  the  neighbourhood  were 
soon  assembled ;  the  side  of  the  ship  was  cut  open,  and 
the  four  poor  fellows  were  liberated  from  a  floating 
sepulchre,  after  an  entombment  of  three  days  and  three 
nights  in  the  mighty  deep. 

"  The  spot  where  the  vessel  struck  is  called  Porthellick, 
in  the  island  of  St.  Mary's,  Scilly :  she  must  have  been 
driven  on  the  rocks  soon  after  midnight,  at  about  the  period 
of  high-water,  and  was  discovered  lying  dry  at  about  7 
o'clock  on  Thursday  morning  by  a  man  accidentally  passing 
along  the  cliffs.  In  another  half-hour  the  returning  tide 
would  have  sealed  their  fate.  The  body  of  VINCENT  was 
thrown  on  the  rocks  at  a  short  distance  from  the  wreck, 
and  has  been  interred  in  the  burial-ground  of  St.  Mary's, 
with  the  usual  rites  of  the  established  church. 

"  Not  the  least  remarkable  part  of  the  narrative  is,  that 
in  the  afternoon  of  Wednesday  the  18th,  the  wreck 
floating  bottom  up  was  fallen  in  with,  at  about  a  league 
and  a  half  distant  from  the  islands,  by  two  pilot  boats, 
which  took  her  in  tow  for  about  an  hour ;  but  their  tow- 
ropes  breaking,  and  night  approaching,  with  a  heavy  sea 
running  and  every  appearance  of  bad  weather,  they 
abandoned  her;  not  having  the  least  suspicion  that  there 
were  human  beings  alive  in  the  hold  of  the  vessel,  which 

104  A    WEEK    IX    THE 

was  floating  with  little  more  than  her  keel  above  water  !  ! 
whilst,  had  the  vessel  not  been  so  taken  in  tow,  the  set  of 
the  current  would  have  drifted  her  clear  of  the  islands  into 
the  vast  Atlantic." 

Bearing  towards  the  North  we  shall  presently  reach  the 
Drum  Rock,  which,  in  the  opinion  of  Troutbeck,  with 
many  other  rocks,  as  curiously,  and,  according  to  his 
hypothesis,  artificially  placed,  is  "  supposed  to  have  been 
an  object  of  Druidical  veneration."  This  rock  is  at  only 
a  short  distance  from  Forth  Hellick,  "  (i.  e.  Cove  of 
Willows)  and  doubtless  so  called  from  the  plenty  of 
Willows  growing  formerly  in  the  wet  grounds  adjoining."  * 
Here  Sir  Cloudesley  Shovel  found  a  temporary  burial.  The 
very  spot  is  pointed  out,  in  which  his  remains,  when 
recovered  from  the  deep,  were  deposited;  and  it  is  said 
that  on  that  spot  the  grass  never  grows.  The  concise 
account  of  the  terrible  disaster  in  which  the  Admiral 
perished,  as  given  by  Davies  Gilbert,  will  suffice  for  the 
information  of  the  reader.  Fuller  particulars  may  be 
gathered  from  Troutbeck.  "Among  the  innumerable 
wrecks  that  have  taken  place  at  Scilly,  the  most  remarkable 
is  that  of  the  Victory,  a  first-rate  ship  of  war,  commanded 
by  Sir  Cloudesley  Shovel,  returning  from  a  series  of 
exploits,  which  continued  adding  to  his  reputation  even 
when  they  failed  of  obtaining  success.  This  ship,  with 
two  others  of  a  smaller  size,  struck  on  the  rocks  of  Scilly 
in  the  night  following  the  22nd  October,  1705,  when 
between  fifteen  hundred  and  two  thousand  men  are  supposed 

*  Borlase. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  105 

to  have  perished ;  and  there  is  a  tradition  of  one  man 
having  escaped,  and  of  his  relating  some  anecdotes  of 
obstinacy,  and  even  of  violence,  on  the  part  of  the  Admiral, 
discreditable  to  him  as  a  man,  and  the  immediate  causes 
of  the  calamity ;  but  these  additions  induce  me  entirely  to 
disbelieve  the  whole  tale."  * 

To  the  North  of  this  beach  is  a  large  pool  of  fresh  water, 
which  abounds  with  eels,  mullets,  and  flounders.  Nearly 
due  West  of  this  pool  is  "  a  farm  house  called  Sallakee,"  *f" 
which  gives  their  names  to  the  fields  forming  the  high  ground 
towards  the  South. 

In  Borlase's  Antiquities,  ;£  the  reader  may  find  an  account 
of  a  "  plane  of  Rock,"  whose  area  was  "  172  feet  from  North 
to  South,  and  138  from  East  to  West."  Elsewhere  he  says 
"As  these  stones  are  evidently  shaped  by  art,  and  for  no 
conceivable  purpose,  either  civil,  military,  or  domestic,  I 
conclude  them  stone-deities ;  their  Flint  designed  perhaps 
to  express  the  stability  of  their  God ;  and  the  roundness 
of  the  upper  part,  his  eternity."  §  This  great  stone  stood 
"  on  the  edge  of  a  most  remarkable  circular  Temple  at 
Suhikee  in  Scilly."  It  is  almost  superfluous  to  add  that 
there  is  no  proof  to  be  discovered  now,  of  the  truth  of 
this  statement,  which  depends  solely  on  the  authority  of 
the  Antiquarian. 

On  Sallakey  Hill  are  two  stone  crosses  of  which  it  is 
difficult  to  conceive  the  origin  or  intention.  They  are  now 
fixed  in  the  stone  hedge :  one  to  the  East  at  the  Northern 
corner  of  the  field  j  the  other  to  the  West  in  the  middle  of 

"  Vol.  iv,  p.  174.  t  Troutbeck.  J  p.  198.  §  p.  173. 

106  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

the  wall,  near  a  gate.  Neither  has  any  inscription,  nor  any 
rudely  sculptured  figure,  as  is  the  case  with  many  of  the 
crosses  in  other  parts  of  Cornwall :  and  both  are  of  incon- 
siderable size. 

Dick's  Cam  forms  the  South  Eastern  point  of  Forth 
Hellick,  opposite  the  Drum  Rock.  Near  it  are  several 
baiTows,  very  similar  in  their  form  and  dimensions ;  all  of 
which  appear  to  have  been  opened.  To  the  South  East  of 
Dick's  Carn  "  is  a  scattering  heap  of  rocks,  very  large  and 
curious,  of  different  forms  and  sizes,  called  Clapper  Rocks."* 
This  place  is  well  worth  visiting ;  for  the  rocks  will  repay  a 
careful  and  minute  examination.  Those  especially  on  the 
higher  ground,  above  the  chamber  which  has  been  used  as  a 
banqueting  room,  are  very  singular,  completely  covered  with 
rock-basons.  According  to  the  theory,  which  ascribes  these 
cavities  to  the  work  of  the  Druids,  marvellous  pains  and 
labour  must  have  been  consumed  in  channelling  these  masses 
of  granite.  But  it  is  certainly  more  reasonable  to  assert 
that  these  stones  are  sufficient  to  disprove  that  theory. 
What  Borlase  says  of  a  rock  at  Peninnis,  "  On  one  we  saw 
fifteen  basons,"  might  with  truth  be  said  of  more  than  one 
of  the  rocks  which  are  here  to  be  seen. 

Crossing  the  Downs  from  hence  in  an  Easterly  direction, 
the  visiter  will  have  a  fine  sea-view  and  a  bold,  rocky  cliff, 
with  here  and  there  large  fragments  of  granite.  Among 
them  is  the  Sun  Rock  of  which  Troutbeck  gives  a  very 
minute  and  particular  account,  appending  to  it  a  dissertation 
on  the  religious  rites  of  the  Phoenicians. 

*  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  107 

Of  another  rock,  near  to  this,  and  bearing  the  name  of 
the  Giant's  Chair,  he  speaks  as  "  probably  a  seat  in  which 
the  Arch  Druid  sat,  to  observe  the  rising  sun."  Few  visiters 
will,  I  am  inclined  to  think  coincide  in  his  opinion.  The 
action  of  the  wind  and  rain  upon  the  granite  is  sufficient 
to  account  for  this  and  those  other  cavities  which  the  cred- 
ulous have  regarded  as  works  of  "  art  and  man's  device." 
They  are,  it  is  probable,  larger  or  smaller,  according  to  the 
proportion  of  feld-spar  in  the  masses  of  granite  and  the  de- 
gree of  disintegration  which  the  rock  has  undergone.  These 
considerations,  which  more  properly  belong  to  the  geologist, 
may  perhaps  account  for  the  peculiar  position  in  which  many 
of  the  rocks  are  found.  "  Where  hard  and  soft  granite  are 
intermixed  the  softer  granite  is  disintegrated,  and  falls  away, 
leaving  the  harder  blocks  and  masses  piled  in  confusion 
upon  each  other,  like  an  immense  mass  of  ruins."  * 

The  rock  in  question  will  serve  well  the  purpose  of  a  chair 
to  any  one  who  is  disposed  to  linger  awhile  on  this  high 
ground :  for  from  it  there  is  an  extensive  and  pleasing 
prospect,  the  mainland  in  the  distance,  and  in  the  fore- 
ground, as  it  were,  the  Eastern  Isles  with  all  their  variety  of 
light  and  shade.  Deep  Point,  "  the  Eastern-most  point  of 
St,  Mary's  Island,"  f  presents  a  fine  mass  of  rocks,  especi- 
ally on  its  Southern  side.  In  abrupt  and  picturesque 
grandeur,  the  Gap  is  perhaps  second  only  to  the  rocks  at 
Peninnis  Head;  or,  if  this  be  giving  it  too  high  a  place,  this 
bold  Point  will  be  allowed  to  rank  after  the  Giant's  Castle. 
From  Deep  Point  it  is  not  liir  to  Mount  Todden;  and 
•  Popular  Encyclopedia.  t  Troutbeck. 

108  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

between  these  two  places  is,  I  imagine,  the  "  subterraneous 
cavern  called  Darrity's  Hole"  of  which  Troutbeck  speaks. 
"  Near  this  place"  he  adds  "  is  a  fine  spring  of  fresh  water, 
which  issues  out  of  a  rock,  but  it  is  dangerous  and  difficult 
to  be  got  at." 

At  Mount  Todden  "there  is  one  gun,  a  four  pounder, 
dismounted ;  "  and  "  a  small  watch-house  in  which  a  soldier 
of  the  garrison  and  three  islanders  keep  watch  every  night 
in  war  time,  lest  a  privateer  of  the  enemy  should  land  in 
this  part  of  the  island,  to  plunder  or  to  carry  off  the  sheep 
and  cattle."  *  This  battery  is  now  called  Pellew's  redoubt ; 
and  derives  its  name  from  the  signal  gun,  an  eighteen- 
pounder,  which  Lord  Exmouth  placed  here  when  he  was  in 
command  of  this  station. 

From  this  the  most  Eastern  extremity  of  St.  Mary's,  a 
visiter  should  bend  his  steps  Northwards ;  and  he  will  easily 
find  the  way  to  Toll's  Island,  on  which  there  are  some  ruins 
of  buildings,  supposed  to  have  been  batteries."  ^  At  a  short 
distance  to  the  North  is  New  Quay,  or,  as  in  the  map,  New 
Key ;  and  the  walk  upon  the  cliff  is  exceedingly  pleasant. 
From  this  point  he  will  have  a  yet  nearer  view  of  the 
Eastern  group  of  islands,  which  at  every  change  of  aspect 
present  new  features  of  beauty. 

When  he  has  sufficiently  explored  this  part  of  the  island, 
Watermill  Lane  opens  a  narrow  but  pleasant  path  towards 
Helveor.  The  '  petty  rill'  murmuring  by  the  way-side,  and 
the  profusion  of  honey-suckle  and  wild  flowers  in  the  hedge 
make  this  a  very  delightful  walk.  On  the  left  side  of  the  lane, 

*  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  109 

about  one  hundred  yards  from  the  head  of  Watermill  Bay, 
is  ;i  fine  spring  called  Lentevern  Well,  and  at  a  short  dis- 
tance further  from  the  sea,  the  road  divides,  and  a  foot-path 
upon  your  right  hand  will  guide  you  over  a  hill  to  Helveor. 

Nearly  due  North  of  Helveor  is  Inisidgen  Point  and 
Isle,  the  North  Eastern  land  of  St.  Mary's.  This  earn  of 
rocks  is  well  worthy  of  examination ;  and  its  proximity  to 
the  Eastern  Isles  and  St.  Martin's  secures  a  very  pretty 
view,  either  from  its  summit  or  its  base.  But  that,  which 
makes  this  hill  an  object  of  especial  interest,  is  a  remark- 
ably fine  barrow  on  nearly  its  highest  point.  It  is  the 
largest  which  I  have  seen,  and  in  most  excellent  preservation. 
Its  dimensions  are  about  fourteen  feet  in  length,  four  feet 
six  inches  in  width,  and  three  feet  eight  inches  in  height ; 
and  it  has  five  top  or  covering  stones.  Troutbeck  speaks 
of  it  as  "  a  cave  of  masons'  work,  four  feet  high,  and  four 
feet  wide." 

From  hence  your  path  will  lie  in  a  West-North- West 
direction ;  and  you  will  have  an  ever-varying  and  most 
beautiful  prospect  as  you  advance. 

By  keeping  along  the  coast  you  would  have  arrived  at 
Sandy  Bar,  and  at  Pendrathen  Quay,  which  is  nearly  oppo- 
site to  the  Crow  Rock.  But  I  would  advise  you  to  change 
your  route,  because  there  is  not  anything  particularly  calling 
for  notice  on  this  part  of  the  coast;  and  that,  which  I  am 
recommending,  will  have  the  advantage  of  giving  you  a 
view  of  the  interior  of  the  island.  On  the  high  ground 
towards  the  South  West,  in  the  direction  of  the  Telegraph, 
there  "  is  a  stone  set  upright,  near  nine  feet  high,  and  near 

110  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

ten  feet  round  the  thickest  part,  called  Long  Rock,  which 
is  supposed  to  have  been  an  idol  of  the  Druids."  From 
the  top  of  the  Telegraph,  which  is  two  hundred  and  four 
feet  above  mean  water,  the  visiter  will  command  a 
panoramic  view  of  the  principal  objects  in  St.  Mary's,  and 
of  the  relative  situation  of  the  other  isles.  In  the  distance, 
the  Eastern  group,  St..  Martin's,  Tean,  Menavawr,  Tresco, 
with  the  harbours  of  Old  and  New  Grimsby  on  either  side, 
Bryher,  the  two  hills  of  Samson,  the  Broad  Sound,  Annet, 
St.  Agnes,  and  the  far-stretching  isles  and  rocks  to  the 
West :  at  your  feet,  the  farms  and  downs  of  St.  Mary's. 
In  an  Easterly  direction  from  the  Telegraph,  "about  a 
furlong  East  from  Long  Rock,  is  an  ancient  farm-house, 
called  Trenoweth ;  and  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  to  the 
South  East  from  the  same  rock,  is  another  good  farm-house, 
called  Newford,  "  near  which  is  an  orchard  of  about  an 
acre  of  land,  which  produces  very  fair  fruit,  planted  about 
the  year  1750,  by  Mr.  Thomas  Smith,  then  steward  to  the 
Earl  of  Godolphin."  *  There  is  another  farm,  Normandy, 
called  by  Borlase,  Normundy  Tenement,  to  the  West  of 
Mount  Todden ;  and  several  substantial)  though  small  farm- 
houses in  different  parts  of  the  country.  The  roads  which 
are  in  progress  through  the  length  and  breadth  of  the 
island  will  naturally  excite  surprize.  They  are  rendered 
necessary  by  the  greatly  increasing  traffic ;  and  afford  good 
proof  of  the  prosperity  of  the  isles.  On  all  sides  you  will 
see  most  excellent  materials  for  their  formation. 

Nearly  due  North  from  the  Telegraph   is  Bant's  Cam. 
*  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  Ill 

From  the  testimony  of  Troutbeck  we  learn  that,  during  his 
residence  in  St.  Mary's,  there  was  "  a  small  village,  called 
Bant's  Farm,  a  quarter  of  a  mile  W.  by  S.  from  Toll's 
Hill."  Though  the  situation  assigned  to  this  farm,  "divided," 
as  he  tells  us,  "  into  three  tenements,"  does  not  direct  us  to 
the  heap  of  rocks  which  now  bears  the  name  of  Bant's 
Carn,  yet,  doubtless,  the  sentence  which  I  have  quoted 
explains  the  origin  of  that  name.  To  the  South  West  of 
this  earn  is  a  barrow  in  very  good  preservation.  It  has 
three  top  or  covering  stones ;  and  its  sides  are  secured  by 
flat  stones  in  the  manner  which  has  before  been  described. 
It  is  about  twelve  feet  in  length,  three  feet  six  inches  wide, 
two  feet  six  inches  in  height.  On  the  Downs,  to  the  East- 
South-East  of  this,  there  is  another  barrow  from  which  the 
top  stones  have  been  removed.  It  is  otherwise  very  com- 

From  the  Telegraph  the  visiter  must  bend  his  steps  to 
Carn  Morval  at  the  North  Eastern  side  of  St.  Mary's  Pool 
or  harbour.  Somewhat  less  than  a  quarter  of  a  mile 
Westward  from  the  Telegraph  is  a  road  which  will  conduct 
him  to  the  fields  above  Porthloo.  Passing  at  the  head  of 
several  cottages  which  form  a  little  village  in  this  corner 
of  the  island,  he  must  cross  some  fields  covered  with  golden 
furze,  and  make  his  way  to  the  sea-coast.  The  view  from 
Carn  Morval  is  one  of  the  finest  which  the  Isles  afford. 

Winding  along  in  a  Southerly  direction,  the  path  conducts 
you  to  Porthloo  Bay,  from  which  the  church,  the  pier,  the 
garrison,  and  the  town  are  all  seen  to  great  advantage.  The 
most  Northern  of  the  two  islands  nearly  opposite  this  bay, 

112  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

is  called  in  the  map,  Taylor's  Island,  which  at  high-water 
appears  to  be  only  a  very  pretty  earn  of  rocks,  rearing  its 
head  from  the  midst  of  the  deep :  that  to  the  South  is 
Newford  Island.  The  fine  bay  to  which  you  will  presently 
come,  is  called  Permellin ;  Borlase  writes  it  Porthmellyn. 
"  The  beach  shelves  almost  imperceptibly  to  a  great  extent, 
and  the  sand  here  is  of  a  remarkably  fine  quality,  and 
'  much  coveted,'  says  Troutbeck,  '  by  the  Cornish  people 
and  others,  for  scouring  brass,  pewter,  &c.,  and  for 
drying  up  writing  ink.  Even  in  Heath's  time,  presents 
were  made  of  it  to  many  parts  of  England,  as  a  curiosity.' 
The  circuit  of  the  beach,  at  high-water  mark,  is  about  one 
hundred  and  sixty  yards."  *  The  hill  above  Permellin  to 
the  East  is  called  Mount  Flagin,  or  Flagon,  which 
Woodley  ingeniously  supposes  to  be  derived  from  ^Xsyw 
to  burn.  He  fortifies  his  opinion  by  the  name  given  to  a  hill 
somewhat  more  to  the  east ;  and  which  is  called  indifferently 
Rocky  and  Brimstone  Hill.  "  I  am  at  a  loss"  he  says  "  to 
conjecture  what  affinity  may  have  been  between  these  names 
and  the  places  to  which  they  are  applied,  unless  beacons 
were  formerly  lighted  on  this  part  of  the  island ;  a  supposi- 
tion by  no  means  improbable,  when  it  is  considered  that 
this  is  nearly  the  highest  part  of  St.  Mary's,  and  commands 
both  the  bays."  On  this  hill  "  are  the  remains  of  a  strong 
building,  called  Harry's  Walls.  This  was  intended  for  a 
fort,  and  was  begun  in  the  reign  of  Henry  the  Eighth, 
before  any  other  regular  fortifications  were  erected  on  the 
Island;  but  the  situation  was  ill  chosen,  and  therefore, 

*  Woodley. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  113 

probably,  the  work  was  abandoned  at  an  early  stage.  There 
is  a  curtain,  with  two  bastions,  remaining ;  the  latter  are 
hollow,  and  project  with  very  acute  angles.  The  length 
of  the  whole  is  sixty  two  yards ;  the  face  of  each  bastion 
sixteen  yards ;  the  walls  are  from  ten  to  twelve  feet  thick, 
and  about  five  feet  high.  Such  was  the  peculiar  excellence 
of  the  cement  used  in  this  work,  that  but  few  of  the  stones 
have  been  dislodged  notwithstanding  the  exertions  that 
have  been  made  for  that  purpose;  and  the  fortress  may 
probably  remain  in  its  present  state  for  centuries  to  come."  * 

On  the  North  side  of  these  walls,  and  on  the  summit  of 
the  hill,  is  a  stone  similar  to  that  near  the  Telegraph.  It 
is  placed  in  a  most  commanding  position,  and  stands 
about  nine  feet  and  a  half  above  the  ground.  There  is  no 
inscription,  or  figure  upon  it,  but  it  is  generally  supposed  to 
have  been  "  set  up  for  an  object  of  Druidical  superstition." 
This  stone  is  not  so  large  in  circumference  as  the  other ;  a 
circumstance,  probably,  quite  accidental. 

The  Western  point  of  Permellin  is  Cam  Thomas.  Woodley 
suggests  as  a  probable  derivation  of  Thomas,  "  the  British 
\\<>rd  Tommen,  (bearing  a  close  affinity  to  the  Latin  word 
tumulus,)  a  little  hill,  by  which  compound  name  this  point  of 
land  is  exactly  described :  a  little  hill  with  a  heap  of  rocks." 
"  Cam  Thomas  is  a  bold  point  of  land  projecting  about 
one  hundred  yards  into  St.  Mary's  Pool,  and  dividing  it 
into  two  beautiful  bays.  The  top  and  sides  of  this  point 
are  clothed  with  grass,  and  a  school-house  is  erected  towards 
that  end  nearest  the  road.  The  height  of  the  top  stone  of 
the  earn  is  about  eighty  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea."  * 

•  Woodley. 

114  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

The  visiter  will  be  amply  rewarded,  if  he  examines  this 
earn  carefully,  by  the  fine  masses  of  rock  which  are  here 
grouped  together.  Whether  seen  from  the  pier,  the  road, 
or  the  beach,  it  is  an  object  of  interest;  and  I  would 
recommend  a  yet  closer  survey  of  its  beauties,  by  climbing 
its  sides,  and  scaling  its  summit,  from  which  there  is,  as 
might  be  supposed,  a  wide  and  comprehensive  prospect. 


THE  Garrison  is  yet  to  be  explored;  and  it  holds  out 
many  inducements  to  a  leisurely  walk  in  the  evening.  How 
beautiful  the  view,  which  may  be  enjoyed  from  its  higher 
ground  towards  the  West,  of  the  setting  sun.  There  is 
certainly  no  place  in  England  where  you  can  command 
this  most  lovely  of  all  summer  sights  to  greater  perfection. 
The  garrison  is  united  to  the  main  land  of  St.  Mary's  by 
the  isthmus  on  which  the  principal  part  of  the  town  is  built. 
The  approach  to  it  is  by  a  somewhat  steep  hill,  which  rises 
"  to  a  height  of  about  one  hundred  and  ten  feet  above  the 
level  of  the  sea."*  The  entrance  is  at  the  North  East 
corner,  on  the  high  ground  above  the  Pier  and  the  Pool. 
Over  the  gate  is  a  large  bell,  which  serves  the  purpose  of 
a  clock  to  the  inhabitants  of  St  Mary's.  Within  the  gate 
on  the  left  hand  is  the  guard  room,  in  which  is  the  clock 
which  regulates  the  ringing  of  the  bell;  and  an  excellent 
barometer,  placed  there  by  the  late  inspecting  commander, 
Capt.  Hull,  l».  N.,  for  the  especial  use  of  the  pilots  and 

*  Woodlry. 

116  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

masters  of  vessels.  The  road  to  the  right,  in  a  Westerly 
direction  will  lead  you  above  the  house  of  the  master  gun- 
ner, and  the  soldiers'  quarters,  to  a  very  pleasant  walk  on  a 
grass  terrace  beyond  the  barracks.  That  to  the  left  will 
conduct  you  to  the  houses  which  were  designed  for  the 
officers.  The  magazine  for  keeping  gunpowder,  which  is 
bomb  proof,  stands  near  the  gate  through  which  you  pass  in 
going  to  these  houses.  There  is  a  good  broad  road  round 
the  Garrison,  the  greater  part  of  which  has  been  made  by 
the  proprietor  within  the  last  few  years.  The  whole  circuit 
within  the  walls  is  a  mile  and  a  quarter. 

There  is  also  a  very  pleasant  walk,  on  soft  and  springy 
turf,  outside  the  wall  towards  the  West  and  South,  on  the 
very  margin  of  the  sea,  from  which  you  may  be  tempted  to 
explore  the  rocks,  which  form  the  natural  and  sure  defence 
of  this  little  citadel.  The  Steval  and  the  Woolpack  and 
other  rocks,  of  more  or  less  repute,  will  here  be  pointed  out 
to  you.  This  walk  may  well  employ  a  leisure  hour. 

The  obvious  course  for  a  visiter  however  will  be  up  the 
broad  path  which  leads  to  the  Star  Castle.  The  castle  is 
situate  upon  the  highest  ground,  and  derives  its  name,  no 
doubt,  from  its  shape  and  figure.  "  It  consists  of  eight 
salient  angles,  projecting  twenty  four  feet."  *  Rudely  sculp- 
tured over  the  door,  by  which  you  enter  the  precincts  of  the 
Castle,  is  the  date  of  its  erection,  1593,  surmounted  by  the 
letters  E.  R.  Within  are  several  good  and  serviceable 
rooms;  in  one  of  which  is  a  small  but  excellent  library 
given  by  the  associates  of  the  late  Rev.  Dr.  Bray  for  the 
use  of  the  clergy  of  the  islands. 

*  Woodley. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  117 

Beneath  the  Castle  on  the  North  Western  side  of  the 
Garrison,  are  the  quarters  of  the  invalid  Gunners.  They 
enjoy  here  a  quiet  retreat,  with  few  duties,  save  those  of 
keeping  the  several  batteries  in  order,  and  giving  warning 
of  the  flight  of  time  by  ringing  the  bell,  which  hangs  over 
the  entrance.  Instead  of  accounting  it  a  banishment  the 
sick  soldier  should  regard  his  settlement  on  these  Isles  as  a 
blessing  of  no  small  value.  That,  which  Woodley  speaks  of 
as  a  probable  event,  has  in  fact  come  to  pass.  Many  of  the 
gentry  from  Penzance  and  from  other  parts  of  England  have 
visited  Scilly  in  search  of  health ;  and,  through  the  blessing  of 
God,  have  attained  the  object  of  their  wishes.  There  can  be 
little  question  that,  so  soon  as  the  means  of  communication 
between  Penzance  and  the  larger  towns  in  the  West  of 
England  are  complete,  many  will  be  drawn  to  this  most  health- 
ful air ;  and  not  a  few  perhaps,  who  would  in  other  days  have 
been  advised  to  seek  a  milder  climate  in  some  foreign  land. 

A  walk  along  the  ramparts  commands  a  good  view  of  all 
the  islands  and  the  seas  about  them ;  and  the  prospect  will 
enable  you  to  form  some  idea  of  the  magnificent  scenes 
presented  by  a  storm,  when  the  waves  break  wildly  on  the 
countless  rocks  around ;  or  when  vessels  of  all  classes  and 
from  all  countries  are  forced  by  contrary  winds  to  drop 
anchor  in  "  The  Koad,"  or  to  seek  refuge  in  the  harbours. 
As  many  as  two  hundred  vessels  have  at  the  same  time 
found  shelter  and  safety  here;  and  in  the  war  time  not 
fewer  than  three  hundred,  it  was  computed,  lay  at  anchor  in 
thi>  port.  The  interest  and  beauty  of  the  scene,  which  the 
Road  and  the  Harbours  at  such  times  present,  cannot  easily 

118  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

be  conceived.     Borlase  thus  graphically  describes  it. 

"  Sunday,  June  7,  in  the  morning,  it  blew  very  hard  at 
East  and  East-South-East,  and  as  all  our  Friends  at  Scilly 
had  been  wishing  that  we  might  have  the  pleasure  of  seeing 
their  Harbour  and  Pool  well  set  off  with  Ships  before  our 
return,  we  were  in  great  expectation,  but  at  our  coming 
home  at  noon  from  Morning  Service,  only  two  little  sloops 
appeared.  In  the  afternoon  it  still  blew  hard,  and  it  was 
wondered  that  no  Ships  should  have  come  in,  but  about  six 
of  the  clock,  word  was  brought  from  the  Hills,  that  seven 
Sail  were  in  sight  bearing  away  for  the  Islands.  We  then 
walked  up  into  the  Lines,  within  a  Bow-shot  of  which  the 
Ships  must  turn  into  the  Harbour  through  St.  Mary's  Sound ; 
in  a  few  hours  there  came  into  the  Pool  before  the  Town 
thirty-five  Ships,  and  they  all  lay  so  round  that  a  Musket- 
shot  from  the  Pier-head  would  reach  the  most  distant  of 
them,  and  many  of  them  ran  ashore  out  of  choice,  upon  the 
soft  sandy  Beach,  the  rest  lay  all  in  a  cluster,  making  as 
pretty  a  Sea-piece  as  can  be  imagined." 

.From  the  Castle  you  will  find  your  way  along  an  excel 
lent  road  to  the  Western  side  of  the  Garrison,  from  which 
you  will  have  a  nearer  view  of  St.  Agnes..  The  Church,  the 
Parsonage,  the  Light-house,  and  underneath  it  the  house  of 
the  light-keepers,  are  all  distinctly  seen.  You  will  admire 
the  Cam  which  stands  at  the  South  West  point  of  the 
Garrison ;  and  then,  following  the  road,  which  here  rejoices 
in  a  delicious  Southern  aspect,  you  will  presently  reach 
Morning  Point. 

Your  path  will  frequently  be  crossed  by  rabbits,  in  and 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  119 

all  probability  by  the  deer,  with  which  the  Proprietor  has 
stocked  this  part  of  his  domains ;  and  which,  it  is  hoped, 
will  answer  his  design  of  making  the  Garrison  a  pleasant 
park  and  an  attractive  walk  both  for  the  resident  inhabitants 
and  for  strangers  visiting  the  islands.  With  the  same 
object  he  has  had  a  bench  placed  here  and  there  for  the 
convenience  and  refreshment  of  visitors.  One  of  these  seats 
is  near  the  Morning  Point;  and  from  the  spot  on  which  it 
stands  you  have  a  beautiful  prospect  of  Peninnis  Head 
projecting  boldly  into  the  deep,  Buzza  Hill,  the  Church, 
and  Porcrasa :  and  then  how  pleasant  is  the  promenade 
along  the  Eastern  side  of  the  Garrison,  which  Troutbeck 
calls  "  the  mall  of  Scilly  !  "  The  eye  reposes  on  the  green 
fields  between  the  Town  and  Peninnis ;  and  when  the  tide 
is  sufficiently  high  to  cover  the  rocks  and  shoals  which 
abound  in  the  bay,  you  will  be  charmed  by  the  beautiful 
sheet  of  water  which  separates  the  Garrison  from  the 
opposite  coast  of  St.  Mary's. 

There  are  several  batteries  at  different  points  in  the  Gar- 
rison. It  may  be  interesting  to  some  who  see  these  pages 
to  know  the  name  of  each,  as  it  presents  itself  in  the  circuit 
of  the  lines ;  and  thus  to  have  the  means  of  forming  an 
opinion  of  the  facilities  for  putting  this  part  of  the  island  in 
defence.  I  have  endeavoured  to  be  exact  in  ascertaining 
the  names  and  situations  of  the  batteries,  and  the  caliber  of 
the  guns ;  and,  thanks  to  the  kindness  of  the  master  gunner, 
I  do  not  apprehend  any  great  mistake  in  my  description. 

The  battery,  which  lies  North  East  by  North,  commanding 
the  Pier  and  the  Pool,  is  called  King  George's.  It  is  imme- 

120  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

diately  on  your  left  hand  as  you  enter  the  garrison  and  turn 
towards  the  South.  There  are  four  eighteen-pounder  car- 
ronades,  dismounted,  for  the  protection  of  this  important 

That  opposite  the  officers'  quarters,  about  two  hundred 
yards  to  the  South,  and  which  may  therefore  be  called  the 
North  Eastern  battery  is  the  Duke  of  Leeds's.  Here  are 
three  eighteen-pounder  carronades,  which  would  be  of  for- 
midable use  if  it  were  ever  necessary  to  bombard  the  town. 

Benham's  battery  looks  due  East  and  is  provided  with 
one  eighteen-pounder  gun  and  one  nine-pounder.  This 
would  be  of  good  service  if  ever  an  enemy  should  attempt 
a  descent  upon  Porcrasa. 

The  next  battery  looks  South  East  and  is  called  Morning 
Point.  You  will  find  here  five  thirty-two-pounder  garrison 
guns  which  effectually  defend  the  approach  to  St.  Mary's 
Sound  or  Porcrasa. 

At  the  Woolpack  battery,  which  faces  South,  are  four 
thirty-two-pounder  and  four  eighteen-pounder  garrison  guns, 
one  eighteen-pounder  being  on  a  wooden  carriage  and 
pointed  at  the  salient  angle.  From  the  interior  of  this 
battery  you  have  a  good  view  of  the  pretty  Cam  which 
stands  at  this  Southern  point  of  the  garrison. 

Bartholomew's  battery  looks  to  the  South  West  and  is 
defended  by  three  eighteen-pounder  garrison  guns.  These 
may  be  brought  into  very  effective  play  upon  vessels  sailing 
through  the  Broad  Sound. 

At  the  point  near  the  sea  which  is  due  West,  there  is  one 
eighteen-pounder.  This  point  is  called  the  Steval. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  121 

Charles's  battery  fronts  the  North  West  and  has  two 
thirty-two-pounder  to  protect  the  entrance  to  the  Road. 

The  Store  House  battery  so  named  from  its  proximity  to 
the  house  in  which  stores  are  usually  kept,  is  guarded  by 
three  thirty-two-pounder  and  one  eighteen-pounder.  This 
battery  has  a  North  West  aspect  by  North. 

The  Master  Gunner  battery,  so  named  because  it  affords 
protection  to  that  officer's  house,  looks  North-East  by  North 
and  has  three  eighteen-pounder  carronades. 

The  battery  to  the  North  East,  from  which  salutes  are 
sometimes  fired,  and  which  would  effectually  co-operate 
with  King  George's  battery  in  defending  the  harbour  and 
the  pool,  bears  the  name  of  Jefferson,  and  is  furnished  with 
one  nine-pounder  and  two  six-pounder  guns,  and  three 
eighteen-pounder  carronades. 

It  hardly  belongs  to  me  to  express  an  opinion  of  the 
\\  isdom  shewn  in  thus  fortifying  one  extremity  of  St.  Mary's, 
which,  however  well  garrisoned,  could  not  possibly  afford 
protection  to  the  many  places  even  in  this  isle,  on  which  an 
enemy  might  with  ease  effect  a  landing.  It  falls  within  my 
province,  rather,  to  suggest  the  duty  of  thankfulness  to  God 
that  there  is  no  prospect  of  these  engines  of  destruction 
being  called  into  use,  and  of  prayer  to  Him  that  the  blessing 
of  peace  may  long  be  vouchsafed  to  our  own  and  to  the 
other  nations  of  the  world. 


THE  title  of  this  chapter  will,  to  a  certain  extent,  apprize  the 
reader  that  I  am  conscious  of  some  omissions  and  defects  in 
the  preceding  part  of  my  work.  Such  is  indeed  the  case. 
The  impression  is  strong  upon  my  mind  that  I  have  not 
done  justice  to  the  peculiar  beauties  of  the  Isles,  and  that 
much  is  lacking  to  render  my  book  acceptable  to  the  public. 
To  attempt,  so  far  as  I  can,  to  supply  the  further  information 
which  a  visiter  would  require,  and  thus  make  my  account 
more  complete,  shall  be  my  present  object. 

Mr.  Woodley,  I  find,  has  borrowed  the  derivation  of  the 
word  Hugh  from  Borlase.  In  his  letter  on  the  Isles  Borlase 
speaks  of  this  peninsula  as  being  called  by  the  inhabitants 
"  Hue,  Heugh,  or  Hew,  signifying  a  high  piece  of  land 
running  off  into  the  water."  In  a  note  on  this  passage  he 
says  "  There  are  several  places  called  by  this  Name,  which 
run  forth  into  the  Tamar  river  in  Cornwall,  and  during  the 
Pilchard  and  Herring  Fishery,  the  man  who  stands  on  the 
hills  to  discover  the  fish,  and  thence  directs  the  fishing  boats 


A    WEEK    IN    THE 

below,  is  called  the  Hewer."  In  a  subsequent  note  he 
reverts  to  this  subject ;  and  having  mentioned  the  places  on 
the  Tamar  distinguished  by  the  name  of  Heugh,  he  adds, 
"  Whether  such  ridges  of  land  have  the  name  from  the  use 
they  are  generally  applied  to  in  looking  out  for  fish,  and  the 
use,  its  name  from  Huer  or  Huye,  (in  French  signifying  to 
shout,  and  make  a  noise)  or  from  Hue,  colour  and  shew,  I 
must  leave  to  Etymologists  to  determine ;  certain  it  is  that 
such  high  lands  as  this  in  Scilly  are  called  in  Scotland 

In  the  second  excursion  I  ought  to  have  said  much  more 
of  the  beauties  of  Round  Island.  Not  only  is  it  deserving 
of  a  visit  as  the  home  of  the  Puffins ;  but  its  abrupt  and 
precipitous  sides,  as  well  as  its  fine  earns,  especially  towards 
the  North,  claim  for  it  a  chief  place  in  the  bold  and  striking 
scenery  of  Scilly.  Its  highest  point  above  mean  water  is 
one  hundred  and  fifty-seven  feet,  five  inches,  an  elevation  of 
eighteen  feet  above  Menavawr,  and  of  seventeen  feet  above 
the  highest  ground  on  St.  Helen's. 

Of  this  Isle  too,  although  my  account  is  sufficiently  full 
and  circumstantial,  I  have  omitted  to  state  that  it  was  a 
place  "  of  great  resort  in  times  of  superstitious  pilgrimage."* 
Quoting  from  the  earlier  commentaries  of  Leland,  Borlase 
assumes  that  St.  Lyde's  Isle  is  the  same  with  St.  Helen's. 
"  St.  Lide's  Isle"  says  Leland,  "wher  yn  tymes  past  at  her 
sepulchre  was  gret  superstition."  This  is  called  St.  Helen's 
by  the  Islanders,  but  I  suspect  the  true  name  to  be  St.  Elid's, 
it  being  the  same,  as  I  apprehend,  which  in  the  records  is 

*  Borlase. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  125 

called  Insula  Sancti  Elidii.  In  a  note  on  this  passage  he 
adds  "  Leland,  or  his  editors  have  made  this  a  Female  Saint, 
but  in  the  Records  '  tis  otherwise.  In  the  first  grant  of  these 
Islands  to  Francis  Godolphin,  Esq,  13th  of  Elizabeth,  are 
distinctly  mentioned  (as  if  two  different  islands)  '  St.  Helen's 
Isle,  Lyde's  Isle,'  but  the  word  or,  or  alias,  is  here  wanting, 
and  it  should  be  written,  (at  least  as  I  conjecture)  St.  Helen's 
Isle,  alias,  Lyde's  Isle." 

The  ruins  of  Charles's  Castle  on  Tresco  are  one  hundred 
and  fifty-five  feet  above  mean  water.  The  Look-out  House 
on  that  island  is  one  hnndred  and  forty-seven  feet;  and 
Great  Ganilly,  which  I  have  surmised  to  be  one  hundred 
feet,  is  computed  from  its  depression  at  the  Telegraph  to  be 
seven  feet  four  inches  above  that  height.  I  must  here, 
therefore,  admit  and  correct  the  mistake  into  which  I  have 
fallen  in  the  third  excursion,  p.  54.  The  highest  point  of 
St.  Helen's  is  now  ascertained  to  be,  not  on  a  level  with,  but 
thirty-two  feet,  eight  inches,  higher  than  the  summit  of  Great 

Castle  Bryher,  whose  height  has  been  discovered  by 
similar  calculations  from  the  Light-House  on  St.  Agnes,  is 
ninety-six  feet,  three  inches.  For  the  accuracy  of  these 
measurements  I  am  dependent  on  the  observations  of 
Serjeant  Steel,  to  whose  kindness  I  must  again  express  my 

In  my  description  of  the  Western  Isles  I  have  neglected 
to  direct  particular  attention  to  Gorregan;  and  from  the 
observations  of  others  I  am  desirous  now  to  supply  the 
omission.  Gorregan  is  especially  deserving  notice  amidst 

126  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

the  cluster  of  isles  among  which  it  rears  its  lofty  head.  "  It 
is  about  a  mile  and  a  half  South  West  and  by  South  from 
Annet  Island,  is  uncultivated  and  about  half  a  mile  round."* 

I  must  here  express  my  fears  that  I  shall  be  blamed  by 
some  for  having  ventured  on  a  discussion  of  any  subject 
which  does  not  clearly  belong  to  a  hand-book  or  guide : 
while  I  may  perhaps  incur  the  censure  of  others  for  not 
entering  fully  upon  topics,  which,  though  not  falling  entirely 
within  the  scope  of  my  book,  are  yet  closely  connected  with 
the  history  of  the  Isles. 

On  the  subject  of  Druidical  remains  I  will  venture 
to  offer  some  few  additional  remarks.  Of  the  pillars, 
which  have  drawn  the  visiter's  attention,  on  St.  Mary's 
and  St.  Agnes,  Borlase  speaks  "  as  sometimes  idols,  some- 
times sepulchral  monuments,  and  at  other  times  of  various 
other  uses  among  the  ancients."  In  his  larger  work  he 
enters  more  fully  into  the  subject  of  these  rude  stone  mon- 
uments. "  Religion"  he  writes  "  did  also  prompt  them  very 
early  to  mark  out  particular  places  for  worship ;  and  there 
is  no  room  to  doubt,  but  that  these  Monuments  were  at  first 
of  the  most  simple  kind,  rude,  without  art,  or  inscription, 
the  Authors  of  them  regarding  more  the  thing  to  be  remem- 
bered, than  the  materials  or  fashion  of  the  Memorial,  and 
consulting  their  present  exigencies,  without  any  view  of 
satisfying  the  curiosity  of  after-ages,  by  affixing  dates  and 
names  upon  their  works  :  they  therefore  chose  such  kind  of 
Monuments  as  offered  most  readily,  and  required  only  the 
good-will,  labour,  and  assistance  of  that  multitude,  from 

*  Troutbeck. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  127 

whom  they  could  expect  no  elegance,  invention,  or  beauty  : 
of  this  most  ancient  sort  of  Monuments  must  those  be 
reckoned,  which  consist  of  rude  unhewn  stones,  as  offering 
themselves  in  most,  or  all  countries,  on  the  highest  hills, 
(such  as  the  Ancients  generally  chose,  for  their  eminency,  to 
erect  their  memorials  upon)  and  promising  a  longer  duration 
than  monuments  of  a  more  compounded  nature. 

"These  stones  were  erected  in  different  number,  and 
figure,  and  upon  different  occasions. 

"  In  Cornwall,  they  are  sometimes  found  single,  as 
Obelisks,  sometimes  two,  three,  or  more,  composing  one 
Monument,  sometimes  disposed  in  a  lineal,  or  straight  direc- 
tion, sometimes  in  a  circle ;  often  in  heaps,  or  Barrows,  and 
now  and  then,  three  or  four  large  flags,  or  thin  stones,  capp'd 
with  a  much  larger  one,  which  go  by  the  British  name  of 

In  his  letter  to  the  Dean,  Borlase  says  "  not  one  Cromleh 
(of  which  sort  I  doubt  not  there  were  many  here  formerly) 
is  to  be  found ;  "  and,  as  this  is  the  case,  it  is  unnecessary 
to  submit  any  remarks  upon  cromlehs  to  the  attention  of  the 
reader.  Of  barrows  or  burrows,  which  Borlase  proves  to 
be  the  more  proper  name,*  sufficient  notice  has  been  taken 
in  previous  chapters.  I  will,  therefore,  dismiss  this  curious 
enquiry  by  one  more  quotation  from  Borlase,  which  serves 
to  point  out  the  origin  and  use,  as  well  as  the  abuse,  of  those 

•  "  I  call  them  Barrows,  because,  that  Name  is  commonly  used ;  but  in 
Cornwall,  we  call  them,  much  more  properly,  Burrows  ;  for  Barrow  signifies 
a  Place  of  Defence,  (Dugdale's  Warwickshire  pag.  782.)  but  Burrow  is 
from  Byrig,  to  hide  or  bury ;  and  signifies  a  Sepulchre,  as  what  we  call 
Barrows,  most  certainly  were," 

128  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

single  stones,  which  are  found  here  and  elsewhere  in  Corn- 
wall. "Jacob  erected  several  of  these  Monuments,  and 
upon  different  occasions :  the  first  we  read  of,  is  that  which 
he  erected  at  Luz,  afterwards  by  him  named  Bethel.  It  was 
a  Religious  Monument,  which  Jacob  (at  once  full  of  holy 
dread,  at  the  vision  of  God  and  his  Angels,  and  inspired 
with  the  most  grateful  sense  of  the  Divine  Goodness,  so 
plainly  declared  to  him  in  this  gracious  Vision)  thought  he 
could  not  do  less  than  mark  the  place  withall,  where  he  had 
been  so  favoured  by  Heaven.  '  And  Jacob  rose  up  early 
in  the  morning,  and  took  the  Stone  which  he  had  put  for  his 
pillows,  and  set  it  up  for  a  pillar,  (Matzebah)  and  poured  oil 
upon  the  top  of  it,  and  called  the  name  of  that  place  Beth-el,' 
vowed  to  worship  the  true  God  only,  and  that  the  place 
where  he  had  set  up  this  Stone  should  be  the  house  of  God. 
As  Jacob  was  at  this  time  young  in  years,  and  had  never  yet 
lived  from  his  parents,  it  may  be  reasonably  inferred,  that  in 
this  ceremony  of  marking  out,  consecrating  and  new  naming 
this  place,  he  instituted  nothing  new,  (as  being  alone,  and 
intent  upon  other  things,  viz.  the  length,  danger,  and  issue  of 
his  journey)  but  followed  the  customs  of  his  Ancestors,  so  that 
Antiquities  of  the  kind  we  are  now  discoursing  may  be  justly 
concluded  older  than  the  times  of  this  Patriarch. 

"  As  Jacob  erected  this  Religious  Memorial  at  Beth-el, 
Joshua  set  up  another  of  the  same  kind,  and  upon  a  Religi- 
ous occasion.  He  had  called  all  the  tribes  to  Shechem,  and 
after  reciting  the  message  to  them,  which  he  had  in  charge 
from  God,  he  exhorted  them  to  serve  God  only,  and  they 
covenanted  so  to  do.  '  And  Joshua  took  a  great  Stone,  and 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  129 

set  it  up  there  under  an  Oak,  that  was  by  the  sanctuary  of 
the  Lord ;  and  Joshua  said  unto  all  the  people,  Behold  this 
Stone  shall  be  a  witness  unto  us,  for  it  hath  heard  all  the 
words  of  the  Lord  which  he  spake  uto  us,  it  shall  be 
therefore  a  witness  unto  you  lest  you  deny  your  God.' 

"These  are  the  first  simple  Memorials  erected  by  true 
Believers,  on   a   Religious   Account.     As  for  the  Gentiles 
they  set  up  pillars  of  the  same  kind  in  every  country,  but 
with  very  different  ends,  from  those  of  Jacob  and  Joshua ; 
for,  as,  afterwards,  when  Arts  were  invented,  and  became 
applied  to  the  purposes  of  Superstition  in  making  images, 
adorning    Altars,    constructing    Temples   they   worshipped 
Statutes,    and    Images;    so   before   Arts   they   worshipped 
those  Rude  Stones.     Some  think  that  God's  appearing  in 
a  pillar  of  fire  by  night,  and  of  a  cloud  by  day,  suggested 
to  the  Gentiles  the  contrivance  of  setting  up  Stone  Pillars, 
and  worshipping  them,  as  the  resemblance  of  that  form  in 
which  the  Deity  had  chosen  to  appear.     But  it  is  evident, 
that  the  Heathens  had  this    custom  of  worshipping  Stone 
Pillars,   before  the  migration  of   Israel  out  of  Egypt,  for 
the    children    of   Israel,    before    they  came    into    Canaan, 
are   expressly   prohibited    from    worshipping    these    Idols, 
common    at    that    time    in    Canaan,    and    therefore    not 
borrowed  from  any  appearances  in  the  Peregrination.    That 
Cunaanites  worshipped  them  as  Gods,  we  learn  from  the 
express   prohibitions    given    to    the    Israelites.      '  Ye   shall 
make  you  no  Idols,  nor  graven  Image,  neither  rear  you  up 
a  standing  image,  neither  shall  ye  set  up  any  Image  of  Stone 
in  your  land  to  bow  down  unto  it.' " 

130  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

On  the  price  of  provisions  the  reader  will  probably  wish 
to  have  some  information ;  and  the  rather,  as  some  change 
has  taken  place  in  this  matter  since  the  publication  of  Mr, 
Woodley's  survey.  The  principal  meat  sold  upon  the  Isles 
throughout  the  year  is  beef;  and  the  price  has  been  for  some 
time  past  and  is  now  5£d.  per  Ib.  Mutton  is  to  be  obtained 
but  occasionally,  and  sells  at  6d.  Lamb  is  plentiful  in  the 
early  part  of  the  year  at  7d.,  falling  afterwards  to  the  same 
price  as  mutton.  The  large  and  tolerably  regular  supply  of 
meat  now  enjoyed  by  residents  upon  the  Isles,  contrasts 
strongly  with  the  account  published  by  Borlase  in  1756. 
"  About  twenty  years  since,  the  inhabitants  generally  lived 
on  salt  victuals  which  they  had  from  England  or  Ireland, 
and  if  they  killed  a  bullock  here,  it  was  so  seldom,  that  in 
one  of  the  best  houses  in  the  island,  they  have  kept  part  of 
a  bullock  killed  in  September  to  roast  for  their  christmas 
feast.  Perhaps  you  may  be  curious  to  know  how  this  beef 
was  kept  for  so  long  a  time  as  three  months,  fresh  enough 
to  roast ;  the  way  was  this,  they  buried  it  in  salt  till  the 
day  they  chose  to  use  it,  and  then  it  was  taken  out  of  the 
salt  untainted,  as  two  Gentlemen  who  eat  part  of  it  assured 
me,  and  roasted  out  of  compliment  to  Christmas  day," 

In  one  respect  the  Isles  are  in  a  somewhat  less  favorable 
condition  as  to  meat  than  in  the  time  of  Borlase.  There 
seems  to  have  been  a  greater  proportion  of  sheep  at  the 
period  of  which  he  writes  than  at  present;  it  being 
rarely  possible  now  to  obtain  joints  of  mutton.  "Their 
sheep"  he  says  "  thrive  exceedingly,  the  grass  on  their  Com- 
mons being  short  and  dry,  and  full  of  the  same  little  Snail 

ISLES    OF    8CILLY.  131 

which  gives  so  good  a  relish  to  the  Sennan  and  Phillac 
Mutton  in  the  West  of  Cornwall.  The  Sheep  will  fill 
themselves  upon  the  Ore- weed  as  well  as  the  Bullocks." 

Fresh  butter  very  rarely  exceeds  one  shilling,  and  usually 
is  lOd.  per  Ib. ;  sometimes  being  as  low  as  9d.  Eggs  are 
commonly  6d.  per  dozen,  though  when  plentiful  they 
are  sold  at  4d.  The  cost  of  fish  is  very  trifling.  Ling 
properly  cured  may  be  bought  in  almost  any  quantity  at  2^d. 
per  Ib.  The  Whiting  Pollock,  a  fish  very  generally  ap- 
proved, is  common  throughout  the  year.  Plaice  are  almost 
always  to  be  had;  Soles  much  more  rarely.  On  the  whole 
there  is  not  so  great  a  variety  and  abundance  of  fish  as  the 
visiter  naturally  expects.  Now  and  then,  however,  a  tur- 
bot,  salmon- peel,  smelts,  and  red  mullet  are  offered  for  sale 
at  prices  exceedingly  low. 

"  Roots  of  all  kinds,  Pulse  and  Sallets  grow  well ;  Dwarf 
fruit-trees,  Gooseberries,  Currants,  Raspberries,  all  shrubs, 
and  whatever  rises  not  above  their  hedges  do  veiy  well."  * 
In  the  orchards  belonging  to  the  principal  farms  there  is  a 
large  variety  of  apple-trees,  usually  very  productive.  The 
largest  tree  upon  the  islands  is  a  mulberry,  which  bears 
abundantly;  and  a  fig-tree,  growing  in  the  same  garden, 
yields  plentifully  its  delicious  fruit,  which  ripens  well. 

The  chief  source  of  income  to  the  islanders  is,  as  might 
be  presumed,  from  the  sea.  There  are  fifteen  good  pilot 
boats  belonging  to  the  isles,  the  owners  of  which  are  con- 
stantly on  the  look-out  for  ships.  Besides  these  not  fewer 
than  fifty  vessels  sail  from  this  port,  the  owners  ;md  m;i-i 

•   \V«,o.ll,.y 

132  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

of  which  reside  on  the  Isles.  Of  these  vessels  the  greater 
part  have  been  built  by  Scillonians.  The  number  of  ship- 
wrights is  very  large,  the  trade  of  building  ships  having 
been  exceedingly  brisk  during  the  last  six  or  eight  years ; 
and  many  vessels  have  been  launched  in  that  period,  reflect- 
ing great  credit  on  the  ship-builders  and  on  the  men 
employed  in  their  construction.  That  I  may  exhibit  a  true 
and  accurate  account  of  the  present  condition  of  the 
Islanders,  I  must  observe,  in  connection  with  this  subject, 
that  there  is  at  this  time  partial,  though  I  trust  only  tem- 
porary, distress  among  the  shipwrights.  The  suspension  of 
work  in  the  yards  has,  of  necessity,  caused  great  anxiety 
and  uneasiness  to  this  body  of  men ;  many  of  whom  have 
gone  elsewhere  in  search  of  employment.  It  has  followed  as 
an  almost  natural  consequence  of  the  activity  and  enterprize 
in  building  vessels,  which  have  of  late  prevailed  in  Scilly, 
that  many  have  been  tempted  to  learn  the  trade  of  ship- 
wrights, who  would  have  shown  greater  foresight  in  going 
to  sea,  or  labouring  on  the  land.  Such  alternations, 
however,  are  to  a  certain  degree  unavoidable ;  and  it  is  to 
be  hoped  that  new  vessels  may  be  ere  long  put  upon  the 
stocks,  and  full  employment  given  to  this  branch  of  industry. 
There  are  good  schools  on  the  four  principal  islands.  To 
the  education  of  the  young  the  Proprietor  has  directed  much 
attention ;  and  the  children,  trained  under  his  care,  display 
great  intelligence,  and  attain  considerable  proficiency 
in  useful  and  religious  knowledge.  The  boys  and  girls 
attend  one  and  the  same  school,  a  mistress  being  appointed 
at  St.  Mary's  for  the  especial  purpose  of  teaching  the  girls 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  '         133 

needlework.  The  number  of  children,  including  those  in 
the  Infant  Schools,  who  are  receiving  instruction  in  all 
that  is  requisite  for  their  station  in  society,  bears  a  large 
proportion  to  the  adult  population.  The  scale  of  payments 
is  arranged  with  a  regard  to  the  circumstances  of  the 
parents;  some  children  are  received  free  of  any  charge, 
and  some  at  the  small  sum  of  one  penny  per  week. 

To  the  greater  prevalence  of  education  among  all  classes 
we  must  ascribe  the  progress  of  the  Islanders  in  the 
different  departments  of  useful  and  honourable  employment. 
I  have  already  spoken  of  the  skill  shewn  by  our  ship- 
builders, and  ship-wrights.  It  may  also  be  told  to  the 
credit  of  the  Scillonians,  that  four  young  persons,  who 
had  received  their  education  on  the  Isles,  have  been  trained, 
one  at  St.  Mark's  College,  Chelsea  ,and  three  at  the  Home 
and  Colonial  Infant  School  Society,  for  the  work  of 
teaching.  They  are  now  engaged  in  the  care  and  manage- 
ment of  schools,  the  former  at  Gloucester  j  of  the  latter,  two 
;it  St.  Mary's,  and  one  at  Tenby,  in  South  Wales,  and  give 
unqualified  satisfaction  to  the  directors  and  managers 
under  whom  they  are  labouring.  There  are  also  at  this 
time  three  pupil-teachers,  two  boys,  and  one  girl,  who  have 
just  passed  from  the  rank  of  scholars  to  the  higher  position 
of  candidates  for  the  office  of  instructors. 

The  Isles  have  been  visited  by  two  of  her  Majesty's 
Inspectors  of  schools ;  and  from  their  report,  a  more  full 
and  exact  acquaintance  with  the  advantages  enjoyed  by  the 
Islanders  in  the  important  business  of  education,  may  be 

134  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

Borlase  speaks  of  the  Scillonians  as  "  very  apt  at  naviga- 
tion ; "  and  it  ought  to  be  stated,  while  we  are  speaking  of 
education,  that  this  very  essential  branch  of  instruction  is 
not  overlooked.  There  are  several  very  young  men,  masters 
of  vessels,  sailing  out  of  this  port ;  and  I  have  never  heard 
a  doubt  expressed  as  to  their  qualifications  for  this  respon- 
sible situation. 

To  those  who  have  formed  their  opinion  of  the  mental 
and  moral  qualities  of  the  Islanders,  from  the  letter  of 
Borlase,  it  may  be  interesting  to  learn  that  they  cannot 
now  be  charged  with  the  gross  superstition  which  he  found 
prevailing  among  them;  and  which  is  so  humorously 
described  by  him  in  pp.  31 — 33. 

I  am  far  from  denying  the  existence  of  such  a  spirit 
among  the  Scillonians.  I  could  mention  instances,  ridicu- 
lous enough,  in  which  it  has  come  under  my  own  observation; 
but  education,  and  a  larger  acquaintance  with  the  world 
has  much  lessened  the  amount  of  superstition;  and  will, 
doubtless,  more  and  more  effectually  counteract  and  subdue 
feelings,  which  have  their  origin  and  their  chief  strength  in 

Persons  well  acquainted  with  Scilly,  will  observe  a 
difference  in  the  stature  and  appearance  of  the  inhabitants 
of  the  several  Isles ;  more  particularly  in  the  male  part  of 
the  population.  Those  born  on  St.  Martin's  are  generally 
tall  and  thin;  those  on  St.  Agnes,  are  short  and  stout. 
The  natives  of  Tresco,  who  have  some  remarkable  points 
of  difference  from  those  of  Bryher,  are  between  the  two  : 
taller,  generally  speaking,  than  the  men  of  St.  Agnes; 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  135 

shorter  than  those  of  St.  Martins. 

The  practice  of  burning  the  oreweed  to  make  kelp,  it 
is  almost  superfluous  to  state,  is  wholly  discontinued.  It 
was  relinquished  nearly  thirty  years  ago.  The  sea-weed 
is  extensively  used  as  manure ;  and  it  is  a  great  advantage 
to  the  farmers  that,  as  there  is  an  almost  unlimited  quantity, 
so  they  enjoy  every  facility,  in  the  way  of  roads  and 
openings  to  the  beach,  for  removing  it  to  their  lands. 

Borlase  is  quite  correct  in  his  remark  that  "  there  is  no 
adder  or  venomous  creature  of  any  kind  to  be  found  in 
these  Islands,"  so  that  you  may  range  "  through  the  high 
grass,  briers,  and  ferns  with  the  greater  boldness."  It  is, 
however,  still  true,  that  many  houses  are  infested  by 

swarms  of  cockroaches. 


A  road-rate,  and  a  poor-rate,  neither  of  which  is  heavy, 
are  the  only  taxes  payable  in  the  Islands.  Nor  is  there, 
God  be  praised,  any  great  amount  of  poverty  amongst  us, 
as  most  of  the  families  are  able  to  procure  a  supply  of  fish 
sufficient  for  their  winter's  store ;  and,  when  potatoes  are 
abundant,  they  do  not  care  for  much  besides.  Some  idea 
of  the  general  prosperity  of  the  inhabitants  may  be  formed 
from  the  circumstance,  that  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  secure 
the  services  of  a  day-labourer.  Nor  are  the  Scillonians 
at  all  willing  to  engage  themselves  as  labourers  upon  the 
land;  so  that  many  of  the  farmers  are  obliged  to  hire 
servants  from  other  parts  of  Cornwall. 

On  the  whole,  it  may  be  questioned  whether  there  is 
in  any  part  of  England,  a  more  general  appearance,  or  a 
larger  measure  of  comfort  and  respectability  in  the  same 

136  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

class  of  life,  than  may  be  found  here.  It  is  curious  to 
compare  the  probable  value  of  this  property  now  with  the 
estimation  in  which  it  was  held  in  former  ages.  On  this 
point  we  will  consult  the  testimony  of  Borlase,  from  whose 
pages  may  be  gathered  very  curious  and  interesting 

"  In  Henry  the  Third's  time  we  find  Drew  de  Barrentine 
Governor  of  these  Islands  for  the  King  from  the  year  1248 
to  1251,*  and  Bailiffs  under  him,  and  King  Henry  the 
Third  gave  him  ten  Pounds  yearly  Lands  in  Scilly  by  Deed. 

"In  the  time  of  Edward  the  First,  these  Islands  were  in 
a  declining  condition,  their  want  of  security  making  a  want 
of  all  things ;  for  we  find  a  representation  made  by  the 
Monks  to  this  King,  recited  in  the  Letters  of  Protection, 
(Monasticon  pag.  1002.)  'That  by  the  frequent  resort  of 
Mariners  of  all  nations  to  that  place,  the  Priory  for  want  of 
proper  Defence,  was  so  damaged  and  impoverished  that  the 
Prior  was  not  able  to  repair  it,  nor  to  perform  the  requisite 
Duties  of  Church  Service.'  Edward  the  First  therefore, 
grants  his  Letters  of  Protection  to  the  Prior  and  Priory, 
Monks,  Chaplains,  Servants,  Possessions,  and  everything 
belonging  thereunto.  These  Letters  were  in  general  ad- 
dressed to  all  Persons  of  Dignity  and  Command  under  the 
King,  but  particularly  to  the  Constable  of  the  Castle  in  the 
Isle  of  Ennour  in  Scilly,  who  seems  therefore  to  have  had 
the  chief  authority  here  in  the  time  of  Edward  the  First. 
This  Constable  I  suppose  was  Ranulph  de  Blankminster 
who  (temp.  Ed.  I.  pat.  35.*)  held  the  Castle  of  Ennort 

*  See  Heath  of  Scilly,  p.  181.  "Heath,  ibid,  p    186. 

t  Otherwise  called  Euinour,  or  the  great  Island. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  137 

in  the  Islands  of  Scilly  by  the  service  of  finding  and 
maintaining  twelve  armed  men  at  all  times,  for  keeping 
the  Peace  in  those  parts :  He  held  the  Islands  of  Scilly 
also  of  the  King,  paying  yearly  at  Michaelmas  three  Hun- 
dred Puffins,  or  six  shillings  and  eight-pence,  and  'John 
de  Allet  *  held  all  his  Lands  and  Tenements  in  Scilly  of 
Ralph  Blanckminster,  by  Knight's  Service,  and  by  being 
Keeper  of  the  said  Ranulph's  Castle,  and  by  other  personal 
services  by  himself  or  by  two  men.'  ' 

"  By  an  Inquisition  in  the  first  of  Richard  the  Third, 
A.  D.  1484,  I  find  the  said  Islands  were  yearly  worth  'in 
peaceable  times  forty  shillings,  in  times  of  war  nothing.' 
To  such  a  low  condition  were  they  reduced  in  the  time  of 
Richard  the  Third.  We  found  them  declining  in  the  Wars  of 
Edward  I.  and  Edward  III,  but  by  the  fatal  consequences 
of  the  long  Civil  War  betwixt  York  and  Lancaster,  they 
seem  to  have  been  on  the  Brink  of  being  utterly  forsaken. 
What  remained  to  the  Laiety  was  little  or  nothing  worth, 
and  the  Portion  of  the  Religious  could  not  be  in  a  much 
better  condition." 

The  historian  has  not  failed  to  trace  the  gradual  rise  and 
improvement  of  this  portion  of  the  British  dominions ; 
and  the  visitor  will,  I  think,  be  glad  to  read  his  observations. 
"  From  private  hands  they  came  to  the  Crown  by  exchange 
in  Queen  Mury's  time ;  f  but  in  the  Thirteenth  of  Elizabeth 

•  Heath,  p.  187. 

t  "  Haec  Insula  tenta  fuit  per  redd.  300  Puffins,  et  postea  per  excambium 
derenit  ad  coronam  temp.  Mariiu  Regime."  Tenures  in  the  Dutchy  of 
Cornwall  (belonging  to  John  Anstis,  Esq.;  late  Garter  King  at  Arms)  taken 
the  Seventieth  of  James  the  First." 

138  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

were  granted  by  her  to  Francis  Godolphin,  Esq. ;  and  from 
his  time  we  may  date  the  Recovery  of  these  Islands,  little 
Colonies  (like  great  Empires)  having  their  sickly  times,  from 
which  they  are  sometimes  restored,  and  in  which  they  some- 
times expire. 

"  Queen  Elizabeth  saw  their  importance,  and  having  the 
Spaniards,  then  the  most  powerful  nation  by  sea  in  the 
world  to  deal  with,  ordered  and  encouraged  the  above 
mentioned  Francis  Godolphin  (Knighted  by  her  in  1580, 
and  made  Lord  Lieutenant  of  the  County  of  Cornwall)  to 
improve  this  station.  Star  Castle  was  begun,  and  finished 
in  1593.  At  the  same  time  were  built  a  Curtain  and  some 
Bastions  on  the  same  Hill,  and  more  intended,  which  are 
now  near  finished ;  Enough  was  done  at  that  time  to  guard 
the  Harbour  tolerably  well,  and  the  Pool  just  below  the 
Castle :  This  Castle  being  built  and  properly  garrison'd, 
Houses  were  soon  built  below  the  Lines  upon  the  edge  of 
the  Pool,  and  Inhabitants  were  encouraged  to  settle  here, 
seeing  the  place  convenient  for  Ships  bound  into  either 
channel  to  touch  at,  commodious  for  fishing,  secure  from 
Pirates,  and  national  Enemies,  and  Land  cheap  and  im- 
proveable  by  means  of  the  plenty  of  Ore-weed  and  Sea-sand. 
Before  Queen  Elizabeth,  the  Inhabitants  were  so  few,  and 
the  Value  of  the  whole  Lands  so  inconsiderable,  that  Sir 
Francis  Godolphin  was  to  pay  ten  Pounds  only,  as  yearly 
Rent  to  the  Crown,  but  the  safety  of  the  Islands  being  so 
well  provided  for,  the  Interest  and  Popularity  of  the  Godol- 
phins,  uniting  with  the  conveniences  of  the  situation,  brought 
here  such  a  number  of  people,  that  all  notice  of  the  old 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  139 

Inhabitants  was  soon  lost,  through  an  universal  attention  to 
the  interests  of  the  new.  It  may  surprize  one  at  first  coming 
to  find  so  few  places  with  British  names,  but  it  must  be 
observed  that  the  new  coiners  had  no  relation  to  the  old 
Inhabitants,  nor  consequently  any  affection  for  their  Customs 
or  Language,  but,  as  to  avoid  confusion,  all  people  must 
have  names  for  Places,  as  well  as  Persons,  it  was  soon  found 
to  be  a  distinction  easier  learnt  by  the  generality  to  call  the 
Lands  after  the  names  of  the  Occupiers,  than  to  retain  the 
more  uncouth,  and  to  the  vulgar,  insignificant  old  names. 
Hence  it  is  that  so  many  modern  family  names  are  affixed 
to  places.*  This  was  a  new  beginning  as  it  were,  to  the 
Settlements  at  Scilly,  but  like  all  other  new  Settlements,  it 
requires  Time  for  the  Lands  to  be  cultivated,  the  Harbours 
to  be  fenced,  and  the  People  to  increase.  From  its  first 
Grant  to  the  Godolphins  it  has  been  gradually  rising ;  the 
Inhabitants  are  considerably  more  than  they  were  eighty 
years  since ;  some  Islands  which  had  then  few  or  no  Inhabi- 
tants, or  House,  or  Field,  have  now  many ;  their  Buildings 
and  Numbers  are  still  increasing,  their  Lands  improved,  but 
still  capable  of  much  improvement." 

That  improvement  has  been  enjoyed  by  the  Isles  and  their 
inhabitants  of  late  years  to  a  greater  extent  than  would  have 
been  anticipated  by  Borlase.  There  is  still  room  for  improve- 
ment as  there  ever  will  be.  But  a  comparison  of  the  present 

•  "Tims,  Bant's  Kara  had  its  name  from  the  Family  of  the  Bants, 
Bosow  Hill  from  the  Bosows  ;  and  the  Tenements  now  call'd  Watt's,  Barn- 
field's,  Leg's,  Toll,  Thomas,  &c.,  from  the  Sin.ames  of  the  Holders;  These 
were  names  familiar  to  the  newly  settled  Inhabitants  and  therefore  readily 
preferred  to  the  British,  which,  however  it  mus-t  be  allowed  by  all  Etymolo- 
gists, were  generally  imposed  with  great  propriety  and  expression." 

140  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

state  of  the  Isles  of  Scilly  with  their  condition  fifteen  or 
twenty  years  ago  will  suggest  abundant  causes  of  gratitude 
mingled  with  surprize.  The  inhabitants,  especially  of  the 
off-islands,  were  then  poor,  dependent,  untaught.  They  are 
now  living  in  the  enjoyment  of  many  comforts,  independent, 
and  having  all  the  blessings  of  a  good  education  within  their 
reach.  There  is  not  only  no  room  for  the  doleful  accounts 
given  by  Mr.  Woodley  of  the  extensive  distress  felt  in  the 
off  islands  of  Scilly :  no  occasion  for  the  appeal  which  he 
makes  to  the  sympathies  of  the  benevolent  and  the  assistance 
of  a  paternal  government;  but  however  strange  it  may 
appear,  it  is  nevertheless  true  that  the  Islanders  have  de- 
rived no  permanent  advantage  from  the  large  subscriptions 
raised  upon  their  account  and  intended  for  their  benefit.  It 
is  matter  of  great  difficulty  to  account  for  the  expenditure  of 
the  sums  collected  from  all  parts  of  England  for  them. 
Their  recovery  from  a  low  and  debasing  state  of  poverty  has, 
by  the  blessing  of  God,  been  wrought  out  by  themselves, 
under  the  wise  and  firm  superintendence  of  the  Proprietor, 
Mr.  Augustus  Smith.  All,  who  have  an  intimate  acquaint- 
ance with  the  islands,  will  acknowledge  that  a  wondrous 
and  most  beneficial  change  has  been  wrought  in  their  con- 
dition and  prospects,  since  he  has  had  the  direction  and 
control  of  their  affairs.  The  subdivision  of  farms,  in  order 
that  all  the  members  of  a  family  might  live  upon  the  land, 
has  been  altogether  stopped.  Very  recently,  when  by  the 
decease  of  former  tenants  a  fitting  opportunity  was  offered, 
the  farms  were,  to  a  great  extent,  re-arranged  and  re-dis- 
tributed. Land  long  uncultivated  and  unbroken,  if  ever 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  141 

before  tilled,  is  now  being  brought  under  the  plough. 
Excellent  roads  are  either  completed  or  in  progress  in  all 
the  principal  islands.  Efficient  schools  offer  the  blessings  of 
education  to  the  young ;  and  those,  who  are  of  an  age  to 
enter  upon  the  active  business  of  life,  are  very  sufficiently 
qualified  to  get  their  own  living  and  to  do  their  duty  in 
that  state  of  life  into  which  it  shall  please  God  to  call  them. 
I  can  scarcely  conceive  a  better  wish  for  the  Scillonians 
than  this ;  that  they  may  enjoy  as  great  an  amount  of  moral 
and  religious,  as  they  now  enjoy,  of  worldly  prosperity ;  that 
the  mercies,  which  they  have  so  largely  received,  may 
awaken  in  them  feelings  of  love  and  thankfulness  to  Him 
by  whom  those  mercies  have  been  bestowed.  Only  let 
them  be  as  diligent  in  serving  God  and  doing  His  will,  as 
they  are  in  the  prosecution  of  their  worldly  business :  only 
let  them  attend  to  the  precepts  of  the  apostle,  "  Let  broth- 
erly love  continue  : *  "Be  kindly  affectioned  one  to  another 
with  brotherly  love ;  in  honor  preferring  one  another ;  not 
slothful  in  business ;  fervent  in  spirit ;  serving  the  Lord."  f 
Then  will  the  sunshine  of  heaven's  best  favour  rest  upon 
their  land,  and  "  the  blithe  music  of  contentment  be  heard 
in  their  vallies  :  "  for  "  happy  is  that  people  that  is  in  such 
a  case :  yea,  happy  is  that  people,  whose  God  is  the 

•  Heb.  xiii.   1.        f  Rom.   xil.    10,  11.       }  Pa.  CXLIV.    !.">. 

?anitanj  CnnMthra. 

THERE  can  be  no  question  that  the  Isles  of  Scilly  are 
exceedingly  healthy.  Of  this  a  sufficient  proof  perhaps 
is  afforded  by  the  great  age  to  which  the  inhabitants  attain. 
There  are  now  living  upon  the  Islands,  many  persons 
considerably  above  eighty  years  of  age ;  and  more  than 
one  above  ninety.  Between  Christmas  1842,  and  Mid- 
summer 1849,  forty-two  persons  were  buried  in  this  parish, 
whose  united  ages  amounted  to  3579  years ;  giving  an 
average  of  85  years  and  very  nearly  a  quarter  to  each. 
Of  these,  two  reached  the  age  of  97,  two  of  92,  two  of  91, 
and  one  of  90. 

Through  the  kindness  of  our  medical  man,  J.  G. 
Moyle,  Esq.,  I  am  enabled  to  lay  before  the  reader,  a 
synopsis  of  the  Births  and  Deaths,  (from  all,  and  from 
specified,  causes)  in  the  Isles  of  Scilly,  between  the  first 
of  January,  1838,  and  the  thirty-first  of  December,  1847, 
a  period  of  ten  years. 


A    WEEK    IN    THE 





Males     ...  378 
Females.      .  377 





TOTAL  .        .  755 






All  causes 409 

Deaths  from  specified  causes 394 

Zymotic  (Epidemic,  Endemic,)  or  contagious  diseases.  42 
Sporadic  Diseases,  viz. — 

Dropsy,  Cancer,  &c 10 

Brain,  spinal  marrow,  nerves  and  senses 59 

Heart  and  Blood  Vessels 9 

Lungs  and  Organs  of  Respiration 85 

Stomach,   Liver,   and   Bowels 28 

Diseases  of  the  Kidneys  and  other  urinary  organs.     .  5 

Childbirth  and  Diseases  of  the  uterus 4 

Rheumatism,  Diseases  of  Bones,  Joints,  &c.     ...  4 

Skin 0 

Old  age .     .     .     , 53 

Drowning 4 

Suicide.            ....          2 



Deaths  from  the  most  important  special  causes. 

Small  Pox    ....  3 

Measles 0 

Scarlatina     ....  24 

Hooping  Cough     .     .  17 

Diarrhoea      ....  6 

Dysentery     ....  4 

Typhus     7 

Dropsy 7 

Cancer 3 

.  1 

.  3 

.  37 

.  7 

.  9 

.  6 

Tetanus          ...  2 

Bronchitis      ....  3 

Pneumonia    ....  5 

.Peripneumonia  ...  2 

Asthma 6 

Phthisis  or  Consumption  68 

Croup 2 

Stomach 6 

Liver 5 

Childbirth        ....  4 

Drowning 4 

Suicide        2 

Sudden  Deaths  ...  2 

Rheumatism    ....  1 

Old  age 53 

Cholera  .  .  . 
Hydrocephalus .  . 
Convulsions  .  . 
Apoplexy  .... 
Paralysis  .  .  . 
Epilepsy  .  .  . 
Cephalitis  .  . 

From  an  inspection  of  these  Tables,  it  will  be  seen  that 
Phthisis  is  by  far  the  most  frequent  disease  in  these  Islands; 
though  not  more  common  here  than  in  most  parts  of 
England.  It  is  somewhat  singular,  that  of  the  sixty-eight 
persons  whose  death  was  caused  by  this  disease,  thirty-four 
were  males,  and  thirty-four  were  females.  The  prevalence 
of  this  disorder  is  to  be  attributed  to  variation  of  climate, 
the  Scrofulous  Diathesis,  and,  particularly  among  the 
females,  sedentary  habits. 

It  will  also  be  seen  that  the  Isles  are  remarkably  free 
from  Typhus,  and  other  diseases  of  an  Asthenic  character ; 

146  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

and  that  they  are  not  often  visited  by  Epidemics. 

In  connection  with  this  subject,  it  may  be  observed,  that 
the  Islands  are,  through  God's  mercy,  plentifully  supplied 
with  water.  It  cannot  be  said  that  they  suffer,  to  any  very 
serious  extent,  from  drought.  There  are,  moreover,  upon 
St.  Agnes  six  wells  of  fresh  water ;  upon  Sampson,  one  ; 
in  Bryher,  six ;  in  Tresco,  seven ;  in  St.  Helen's,  one ;  in 
Te'an,  one;  in  St.  Martin's, five;  in  St.  Mary's,  above  thirty. 

Lentevern  well  in  Watermill  Lane ;  the  well  at  Sallakey, 
nearly  opposite  the  farm-house;  the  well  in  Holy  Vale, 
at  the  back  of  the  farm  house ;  and  the  Moor-well,  opposite 
Permellin,  are  running  wells,  and  chiefly  famed  for  their 
purity  and  softness.  The  depth,  at  which  the  springs  lie 
below  the  surface  of  the  ground,  varies  between  four  feet, 
and  thirty  feet.  The  attention  of  Borlase  was  drawn  to 
this  important  point ;  and  he  thus  writes,  "  There  is  a  good 
well  at  Holy-vale,  even  with  the  surface,  a  fons  perennis, 
and  a  deep  one  in  the  Lines  belonging  to  the  Master 
Gunner,  the  Water  of  which,  compared  with  that  of  the 
celebrated  Gun-well  of  Trescaw,  I  found,  by  my  Hydrom- 
eter, to  be  of  equal  lightness."* 

*  Letter,  p.  79. 

RARE  birds  are  frequently  seen  and  captured  in  the  Isles 
of  Scilly;  and  several  contributions  of  great  value  have 
been  made  from  this  place  to  the  extensive  collection  of 
British  birds,  formed  by  Edward  Hearle  Rodd,  Esq.,  at 

From  Yarrell's  history  of  British  Birds,  and  from  the 
communications  of  Mr.  Rodd,  I  have  derived  the  informa- 
tion which  I  here  lay  before  the  reader.  To  the  kindness 
with  which  Mr.  Rodd  acceded  to  my  request,  that  he  would 
supply  me  with  these  interesting  notices  of  birds  now  in 
his  possession,  and  to  the  trouble  which  he  has  taken  in 
revising  this  paper,  I  am  under  great  obligations,  and  beg 
thus  to  tender  to  him  my  best  thanks. 

The  Isles  of  Scilly  are  peculiarly  adapted  by  their 
situation  so  far  to  the  West,  and  by  their  precipitous,  rocky 
character,  for  the  permanent  residence  of  many  among  our 
well-known  British  water-birds.  Nor  are  they  less  likely  to 
be  visited  by  some  of  the  rarer  land-birds. 

148  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

The  interest  which  has  been  directed  of  late  years  to  this 
branch  of  Natural  History,  has  extended  to  us ;  and  the 
visits  of  experienced  ornithologists  have  so  far  drawn 
attention  to  this  subject,  that  the  occurrence  of  any  unusual 
or  remarkable  bird  does  not  fail  to  attract  the  notice  of  the 

As  might  be  expected,  the  Wafer,  or  rather  the  Sea  Birds 
form  the  division  of  greater  general  interest;  but  several 
rare  Land  Birds,  not  before  noticed,  have  within  the  last  few 
years,  been  observed  in  the  Islands. 

3M  iirfe. 

In  this  division  may  be  mentioned  the  rarest  of  the  three 
British  Shrikes,  (Laniadce)  the  Woodchat,  (Lanius  Rufus)  a 
mature  specimen  of  which  was  caught  in  a  fishing  boat 
near  the  Islands,  in  the  spring  of  1840.*  Of  this  bird 
several  specimens  were  obtained  during  the  last  Autumn. 
The  adult  specimen,  and  also  one  in  immature  plumage 
are  preserved  in  the  collection  of  Mr.  Rodd. 

The  rose-coloured  Starling,  (Pastor  Roseus)  another 
beautiful  and  rare  species,  has  been  obtained  from  the 
Islands  ;f  and  in  the  year  1847,  several  instances  of  the 
Hoopoe,  (Upupa  Epops)  a  bird  remarkable  at  once  for  its 
elongated  crest,  its  beautiful  plumage,  and  graceful  form, 
occurred  and  were  captured.  J 

The  Turtle  Dove,  (Columba  Turtur)  is  commonly  observed 

*  See  preface  to  Tamil's  British  birds.  t  Ibid.  Vol.  ii,  p.  52. 

\  Ibid.  vol.  ii,  p.  171. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  149 

here  in  the  Summer  months;  and  the  Stock  Dove,(Columba 
(Enas)  has  in  two  instances  been  obtained  from  the  Islands. 
This  circumstance  deserves  the  more  especial  notice,  as  its 
congeners,  the  Ring  Dove,  Rock  Dove,  and  Turtle  Dove 
are  recorded  in  the  Cornish  Fauna,  whilst  the  Stock  Dove 
is  not  known. 

Another  very  rare  bird  was  observed  at  Tresco,  in  the 
years  1848  and  1849 ;  and,  from  its  remarkable  and  bril- 
liant yellow  plumage,  with  black  wings,  no  doubt  exists  of 
its  being  the  Golden  Oriole,  (Oriolus  Galbula.)  The 
probability  is  increased  by  the  circumstance  of  an  adult 
specimen  having  been  killed  some  years  ago  at  the  Land's 

Mr.  Rodd  also  obtained  last  year  a  very  valuable  addition 
to  his  collection  from  Scilly,  in  the  Scops-eared  Owl,  (Strix 
Scops.)  This  bird  is  remarkable  for  its  diminutive  size,  and 
also  for  the  beautifully  pencilled  brown  and  grey  shadings 
of  its  plumage.  The  Short-eared  Owl,  Strix  Brachyotos, 
periodically  visits  the  Islands,  appearing  with  Woodcocks 
in  the  autumn. 

During  the  last  Autumn,  the  period  at  which  the  migra- 
tion of  our  smaller  British  birds  to  Southern  regions  takes 
place,  the  Isles  were  visited  with  hosts  of  our  smaller  warblers. 
Amongst  them  were  observed  the  three  British  species  of 
Willow  Wrens,  (  Sylviadce)  viz. :  the  Wood  Wren,  the  common 
Willow  Wren,  and  the  Chiff-chaff.  The  former  species  is 
unknown  in  the  West  of  Cornwall;  but  the  whole  family 
are  lovely  in  form,  and  delicate  in  their  habits  and  pursuits. 
Another  little  migratory  bird,  quite  new  to  Cornwall,  the 

150  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

Reed  Wren,  (Salicaria  Arnudinacca)  closely  allied  to  the 
Sedge  Warbler,  (a  well-known  bird  which  frequents  moist 
ditches,  and  which  sings  in  the  night,)  has  also  been  found 
here  in  several  instances. 

The  Pied  Fly-catcher,  (Muscicapa  luctuosa)  another  species 
hitherto  unknown  in  Cornwall,  was  also  captured  together 
with  black  Red-starts,  (Phcenicura  Tithys)  common  Red- 
starts, (Pkcenicura  Ruticilla)  black-cap  and  garden  Fauvettes, 
( Curruca )  all  of  which,  except  the  black-cap,  are  uncommon 
in  the  West  of  Cornwall.  Their  appearance  at  Scilly,  may 
perhaps  be  accounted  for,  by  the  prevalence  at  the  time  of 
a  strong  Southerly  gale. 

I  must  not  omit  to  mention  the  occurrence,  amongst  the 
company  of  migratorial  visitants,  of  that  beautiful  bird,  the 
Wryneck,  (Yunx  Torqmlla)  which  was  captured  at  the 
same  time.  Quails  are  occasionally  seen  on  the  Isles,  and 
Landrails  may  be  found  every  summer  in  suitable  localities. 

Some  of  the  common  British  Hawks  are  permanently 
resident  on  the  Isles,  such  as  the  Sparrow-Hawk  and  Kes- 
trel ;  but  a  noble  addition  was  made  last  year  to  our  Fauna 
in  the  Osprey,  (Pandion.)  Another  large  hawk  was  ob- 
served at  the  same  time,  which  from  the  yellow  markings  of 
its  head  and  neck  was  supposed  to  be  the  Marsh  Harrier, 
more  commonly  known  as  the  Moor  Buzzard. 

In  thus  referring  to  the  rarer  species  of  Land-birds,  which 
have  occurred  in  these  Isles,  I  have  not  thought  it  necessary 
to  attempt  a  minute  history  of  the  ornithology  of  this  out- 
lying part  of  Cornwall.  The  same  remark  will  apply  to  the 
Sea-birds.  Speaking  generally  of  the  birds  which  meet  the 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  151 

eye  of  the  observer,  it  will  not  be  difficult  to  recognise  the 
usual  way-side  birds,  such  as  House-sparrows,  Hedge-spar- 
rows, Thrushes,  common  Wrens,  Red-breasts,  Sky-larks, 
Stonechats,  Wheatears  and  others. 

I  will  close  this  notice  of  the  Land-birds  by  a  curious 
extract  from  the  Journal  of  Gilbert  White,  of  Selborne, 
which  is  published  by  Yarrell  in  his  article  upon  the  Wood- 
cock, "  a  gentleman  writes  word  from  St  Marys,  Scilly, 
that  in  the  night  between  the  10th  and  llth  of  the  month, 
the  wind  being  west,  there  fell  such  a  flight  of  Woodcocks 
within  the  walls  of  the  garrison,  that  he  himself  shot,  and 
conveyed  home,  twenty-six  couple,  besides  three  couple 
which  he  wounded,  but  did  not  give  himself  the  trouble  to 
retrieve.  On  the  following  day,  the  12th,  the  wind  contin- 
uing west,  he  found  but  few.  This  person  further  observes, 
that  easterly  and  northerly  winds  only  have  usually  been 
remarked  as  propitious  in  bringing  Woodcocks  to  the  Scilly 
Islands.  So  that  he  is  totally  at  a  loss  to  account  for  this 
western  flight,  unless  they  came  from  Ireland.  As  they 
took  their  departure  in  the  night  between  the  llth  and  12th, 
the  wind  still  continuing  west,  he  supposes  they  were  gone 
to  make  a  visit  to  the  counties  of  Cornwall  and  Devonshire. 
From  circumstances  in  the  letter,  it  appears  that  the  ground 
within  the  lines  of  the  garrison  abounds  with  furze.  Some 
Woodcocks  settled  in  the  street  of  St.  Mary's,  and  ran  into 
the  houses  and  out-houses."  *  The  Isles  are  annually  visited 
towards  the  autumn  by  considerable  numbers  of  this  choice 
and  favourite  bird. 

Vol  ii..  pp.  580,  7. 

152  A   WEEK    IN    THE 


In  treating  on  the  Water  Birds  of  Scilly,  a  larger  field 
presents  itself;  and,  as  might  be  expected,  this  division  in 
the  ornithology  of  the  Isles  presents  an  important  character- 
istic feature  in  their  Natural  History.  The  breeding  season, 
comprising  the  months  of  May  and  June,  is  the  most 
interesting  period  for  watching  the  habits  of  our  sea-birds* 

From  the  wild  hoarse  scream  and  "  kuckle"  of  the 
various  gulls,  the  mingled  sounds  of  the  Puffins,  Razor-bills, 
Guillemots,  Oyster-catchers,  Shags,  Terns,  &c.,  to  the  tiny 
musical  whistle  of  the  Ring  Plover,  the  naturalist  will  have 
abundant  opportunities  of  observing  the  busy  and  anxious 
scenes  in  which  the  various  sea-birds  are  engaged. 

Perhaps  the  most  interesting  and  at  the  same  time  the 
most  beautiful  family  of  Birds  which  frequent  our  isles,  is 
that  of  the  Terns,  (Sturnidce  )  nearly  all  of  which  breed 
annually  on  the  grass  banks,  sands  and  shingle,  at  the 
different  isles,  and  especially  at  Annet.  The  Terns  are 
remarkable  for  their  light  and  elegant  forms,  and  for  the 
unsullied  purity  of  their  white  and  light  blue  plumage. 

The  Roseate  Tern,  (Sterna  Dougallii}  especially  deserves 
the  attention  of  the  visiter,  as  presenting,  more  particularly 
in  the  breeding  season,  a  most  delicate  and  lovely  rose-co- 
loured tint  on  the  breast,  varying  in  intensity  in  certain 
lights,  and  exhibiting  a  peculiarly  beautiful,  glowing,  hectic 
blush.  This  colour  is  so  delicate  and  evanescent  that  it 
quickly  disappears  after  death,  if  the  skin  is  exposed  to  a 
strong  light. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  153 

The  Terns,  which  have  been  observed  at  Scilly,  comprise 
the  Common,  Sandwich,  Arctic,  and  Roseate  Tern.*  These 
all  breed  in  the  Isles.  Their  eggs  are  all  similar  in  general 
appearance,  the  colour  being  clay- yellow,  blotched,  and 
spotted  with  black. 

Of  the  Gulls,  (Larida)  the  most  remarkable  is  the  largest 
known  British  species,  the  Great  Black-backed  Gull,  (Larus 
marinus)  which  annually  breeds  on  the  high  rocks  of  Gor- 
regan.  The  Lesser  black-backed  Gull  and  the  Herring 
Gull  also  breed  at  Scilly ;  and  it  may  be  remarked  that  the 
eggs  of  the  two  latter  are  so  similar  in  size  and  colouring 
that  it  is  almost  impossible  to  distinguish  them.  The  Great 
Black-backed  Gull  is  restless  and  angry  in  the  breeding 
season ;  and  hovering  beyond  gun-shot  above  her  nest  seeks 
to  scare  away  intruders  by  her  wild,  hoarse  scream. 

We  are  visited  occasionally  with  some  interesting  species 
belonging  to  the  Heron  tribe.  The  first  I  will  mention  is 
the  Spoon-bill,  (Platalea  Leucorodia.)  A  specimen  of  this 
bird  has  been  killed  at  Tresco.  It  was  without  the  plumes 
which  adorn  the  adult  bird.  In  the  last  week  of  May  in 
the  present  year  another  specimen  was  shot  at  St.  Mary's. 
Of  this  Mr.  Rodd  writes,  "  It  is  by  far  the  most  adult  of 
all  the  examples  that  have  come  under  my  notice  as  Cornish 
specimens.  The  occipital  crest  is  developed,  which  has  not 
been  the  case  in  others  that  I  have  seen,  and  there  are  other 
marks  which  denote  its  being  an  old  and  mature  bird." 

One  of  the  most  beautiful  of  the  British  Herons  has  been 
captured   on  the   Isles,   viz.,   the   Squacco  Heron,  (Ardea 
•  Yarrell,  Vol.  ill.  p.  102. 

154  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

Comata.)    This  bird  was  observed  in  a  great  many  instances 
in  the  Land's  End  district  during  the  last  year. 

Another  curious  and  interesting  species  of  the  Heron 
family  was  also  obtained  in  1849,  viz.,  the  ?sight  Heron, 
(Ardea  Nycticorax.)  This  bird  was  in  beautiful  plumage, 
with  three,  long,  subulated,  snow-white  feathers,  proceeding 
from  the  back  of  the  head. 

The  large  Curlew,  Turnstones,  Oyster-catchers,*  the  latter 
generally  known  by  the  name  of  Sea-pies,  are  constant 
residents;  while  the  Common  Sandpiper  and  the  Red-shank 
Sandpiper  have  both  been  seen  at  the  Islands.  The  Oyster- 
catchers  and  Ring  Dotterels  breed  annually  at  Scilly ;  and 
their  eggs  may  be  found,  without  difficulty,  on  the  loose 
shingle  above  high-water  mark,  with  scarcely  any  preparation 
of  a  nest  except  a  slight  indentation.  The  Ring  Dotterel's 
egg  is  very  beautiful  both  in  shape  and  in  the  arrangement  of 
its  colours.  From  its  general  resemblance  to  the  sea-shore 
pebbles,  which  is  also  characteristic  of  the  Terns'  and  Oyster 
Catchers'  eggs,  a  casual  observer  would  probably  never 
notice  them.  Eggs  of  the  Ring  Dotterel  have  been  obtained 
in  April,  a  circumstance  which  shews  how  early  this  bird 
breeds.  It  has  not  been  clearly  ascertained  that  the  Turn- 
stone has  bred  at  Scilly,  although  its  appearance  in  the 
summer  months  would  seem  to  indicate  a  probability  that 
such  is  the  case. 

Guillemots,  Razor-bills,  Puffins,  Storm  Petrels,  Common 
Shearwaters,  all  breed  on  the  Isles.    The  Common  Guillemot, 
(Uria  Troile)  is  remarkable Jbr  two   properties  in  its  egg. 
*  Yarrell,  Vol.  ii.  p.  435. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  155 

The  first  is,  that  although  the  bird  itself  is  not  larger  than  a 
Bantam  fowl,  the  egg  is  as  large  as  that  of  a  Turkey :  the 
second  property  is  that  no  two  eggs  are  alike.  They  vary 
from  a  light  verdigris  green  to  white,  more  or  less,  and 
sometimes  not  at  all,  spotted  with  black. 

The  Canada  Goose  has  been  shot  in  the  Isles ;  *  the 
Puffin  or  Sea-Parrot  is  more  common  than  on  the  coast  of 
Cornwall,  f  "Pujfinus  major  is  very  well  known  to  the 
Scillonians,  by  whom  it  is  called  Hackbolt.  They  inform 
me  it  is  a  constant  visitant  in  the  latter  part  of  autumn,  and 
represent  its  manners  on  the  water  as  resembling  those  of 
P.  anglorm  %  the  Manx  Shearwater." 

In  the  same  valuable  work  there  is  a  most  interesting 
account  of  the  Manx  or  Common  Shearwater,  from  the  pen 
of  Mr.  D.  W.  Mitchell,  who  some  years  since  visited  these 
Islands  in  pursuit  of  ornithological  science;  and  whose 
reputation  as  a  naturalist  has  placed  him  in  an  important 
situation  in  the  Zoological  Society  of  London.  The  descrip- 
tion of  the  scene  of  nidification  of  this  bird  is  so  graphically 
and  elegantly  given  that  I  shall  venture  to  transcribe  some 
portions  of  it. 

"  To  the  westward  of  St.  Agnes,  in  the  Scilly  group,  lies 
a  barren  island  called  Annet.  Its  northern  shore  is  abrupt 
and  craggy;  it  gradually  slopes  towards  the  south,  and 
narrows  into  a  sort  of  peninsula,  where  the  sandy  soil  is 
rich  enough  to  produce  a  dense  growth  of  short  ferns. 
Here  is  the  strong-hold  of  the  Shearwaters.  Sit  down  on  a 

•  Yarrcll.  Vol.  iii.  p.  92.  t  Ibid.  Vol.  iii.  p.  303. 

Ibid.  Vol.  iii.  pp.  504,  5. 

156  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

rock  which  commands  the  little  territory,  and  you  will  see 
nothing  but  the  Terns,  who  have  a  station  on  the  higher  and 
central  part  of  the  island.  You  may  wait  all  a  sunny 
day  in  June,  but  not  a  Shearwater  will  you  see  on  land  or 
water.  There  are  plenty  near  you  all  the  time,  however,  as 
you  may  ascertain  by  the  odour  which  issues  from  the  first 
burrow  you  look  into  among  the  ferns.  As  soon  as  the  sun 
is  down  you  will  see  a  little  party  of  five  or  six  flitting 
silently  across  the  sound,  or  steering  out  to  sea.  The  latest 
fishers  from  the  colony  of  Terns  are  coming  home  from  the 
sandy  shallows,  five  or  six  miles  away,  with  their  throats 
and  beaks  crammed  with  Lance-fish,  when  the  Shearwaters 
begin  to  wake.  You  will  not  see  them  come  out  of  their 
holes ;  you  first  catch  sight  of  them  skimming  round  the 
corner  of  a  rock  close  to  the  water.  Perhaps  they  will  have 
a  great  gathering,  such  as  I  encountered  one  evening  in 
'  Smith's  Sound.'  There  was  a  congregation  of  at  least  three 
hundred,  in  the  middle  of  the  tide-way,  washing,  dipping, 
preening  feathers,  and  stretching  wings,  evidently  just  awake, 
and  making  ready  for  the  night's  diversion.  As  I  wanted  a 
few  specimens  more  than  I  had  dug  out  of  the  burrows,  I 
ran  my  boat  well  up  to  them,  and  when  they  rose,  got  as 
many  as  I  wished,  besides  a  few  unfortunate  cripples  who 
were  only  winged,  and  proved,  by  their  agility  in  swimming 
and  diving,  a  good  deal  too  much  for  my  boatmen.  I  think 
a  good  dog  would  have  no  chance  with  them.  They  allowed 
me  to  come  quite  close.  They  sit  low  in  the  water ;  they 
make  no  noise  when  disturbed,  though  in  their  holes  they 
are  eloquent  enough,  the  Scillonian  synomyns  of  Crew  and 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  157 

Cockathodon  being  derived  from  the  guttural  melodies  they 
pour  forth  as  the  spade  approaches  the  end  in  which  the  egg 
is  deposited."*  The  reader  will  find  other  interesting  de- 
tails respecting  this  bird  in  the  work  from  which  I  have  so 
largely  drawn. 

The  Storm  Petrel,f  the  smallest  web-footed  bird,  which 
braves  our  stormy  seas  out  of  sight  and  apparent  reach  of 
land,  lays  its  two  beautiful  white  eggs,  encircled  with  a  zone 
of  rufous  yellow  towards  the  larger  end,  under  cover  of  the 
over-hanging  rocks  of  the  more  inaccessible  islets.  Mr. 
Rodd  thus  describes  the  habits  of  this  little  mariner,  as  he 
observed  them  during  a  fishing  excursion  in  Mount's  Bay. 

"In  the  summer  of  1834,  when  at  a  distance  of  six  or 
seven  miles  from  shore,  in  Mount's  Bay  fishing,  on  a  per- 
fectly calm  summer's  evening,  ten  or  twelve  Stormy  Petrels, 
just  before  sunset,  continued  flying  about  our  boat,  apparently 
regardless  of  men  or  of  any  danger.  We  several  times 
endeavoured  to  strike  them  with  our  oars ;  but,  instead  of 
exhibiting  caution,  the  bird  just  struck  at  would  fly  almost 
in  our  faces  and  around  our  heads :  and  if  we  could  have 
kept  the  boat  stationary,  I  am  certain  they  might  have  been 
caught  by  the  hand.  They  continued  hawking  about  with 
an  abrupt  and  wavering  flight,  not  unlike  that  of  the  Bank 
Swallow,  sometimes  near  the  surface  of  the  sea,  at  other 
times  pausing  on  the  surface,  touching,  but  not  alighting  on 
the  water ;  then  mounting  up  to  the  height  of  eight  or  ten 
feet,  and  wheeling  to  and  fro,  evidently  watching  the  surface 
of  the  water,  and  perhaps  the  little  insects  and  flies  which 
•  Yarrell.  pp.  509,  510.  t  Ibid.  Vol.  iii.  p.  625. 

158  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

sport  about  at  this  season  of  the  year  at  a  distance  from 
land.  They  appeared  at  times  to  be  in  pursuit  of  moving 
objects,  as  they  were  dodging  and  turning  continually  and 
abruptly  like  the  swallow-tribe.  Now  and  then  they  appear- 
ed to  take  a  momentary  rest  upon  the  water;  but  they 
were  instantly  up  again,  fanning  the  surface  and  sporting 
about  as  before.  I  never  observed  in  any  instance  their 
wings  entirely  closed  when  on  the  water ;  nor  did  I  perceive 
any  positive  swimming  action.  Their  alighting  resembled 
the  action  of  gulls,  when  they  dip  in  the  sea  suddenly  and 
rise  again,  pausing  only  to  secure  an  object  of  food." 

The  most  common  of  the  Sanderlings,  generally  so  called, 
is  the  Dunlin,  Tringa  variabilis  a  bird  remarkable  for  the 
change  which  its  plumage  undergoes  in  the  summer  and 
winter  months.  During  the  summer  the  back  of  the  bird 
is  dark,  with  rufous  edges,  and  the  belly  has  across  it  an 
irregular  patch  of  black.  In  the  winter  the  whole  of  the 
upper  plumage  is  ash-grey  and  all  the  under  parts  are  pure 

Mr.  Mitchell  succeeded  in  capturing,  when  at  the  Isles, 
one  of  the  rarest  British  birds,  called  the  Pectoral  Sand- 
piper, ( Tringa  pectoralis)  a  species  scarcely  known  in  the 
British  Isles;  and  this  specimen  is  now  in  the  British 
Museum.  This  is  perhaps  one  of  the  most  interesting  facts 
connected  with  the  ornithological  history  of  the  County  of 
Cornwall.  This  bird  was  submitted  to  Mr.  Yarrell's  inspec- 
tion ;  and  he  has  referred  minutely  to  this  example,  in  his 
work  on  British  Birds  under  the  article,  Pectoral  Sandpiper. 
"D.  W.  Mitchell,  Esq.,  of  Penzance,  sent  me  in  June,  1840, 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  159 

a  coloured  drawing  of  the  natural  size,  and  a  fully  detailed 
description,  with  measurements,  of  a  Sandpiper,  shot  by 
himself  on  the  27th  of  the  previous  month,  while  the  bird 
was  resting  on  some  sea-weed  within  a  few  yards  of  the 
water,  on  the  rocky  shore  of  Annet,  one  of  the  uninhabited 
islands  at  Scilly.  On  the  following  day  another  example 
was  seen,  but  became  so  wild  after  an  unsuccessful  shot, 
that  it  took  off  to  another  island  and  escaped  altogether. 
The  close  accordance  of  the  specimen  obtained  with  the 
description  of  Tringa  pectoralis  in  summer  plumage  in  the 
Fourth  Part  of  M.  Temminck's  Manual,  led  Mr.  Mitchell  to 
a  true  conclusion  as  to  the  species  and  its  novelty  and 
interest  in  this  country."* 

J.  N.  R.  Millett,  Esq.,  of  Perizance,  has  communicated 
to  me  an  interesting  fact  with  regard  to  the  Manx  Shear- 
water, which  it  would  be  wrong  to  with-hold  from  the 
reader.  "  During  a  visit  to  the  Isles  in  1826,  1  tried"  he 
states  "for  several  successive  days  to  get  a  shot  at  the 
Shearwaters,  but  in  vain.  They  invariably  kept  just  out  of 
gun-shot,  and  I  began  to  despair  of  success.  I  heard, 
however,  accidentally,  that  flocks  of  these  birds  were  daily 
seen  about  noon,  sitting  quietly  on  the  water  in  St.  Mary's 
Sound.  Thither  I  proceeded  without  delay,  and  found 
numerous  groups  of  them  scattered  about  in  the  tideway, 
evidently  reposing  after  their  morning's  fishing  at  sea.  They 
allowed  me  to  approach  within  gun-shot  without  any  appa- 
rent alarm,  when  I  succeeded  in  obtaining  some  choice 
specimens.  In  crossing  the  Sound  on  several  occasions 
•  Yarrell.  Vol.  ii.  p.  035. 

160  ISLES    OF    SCILLY. 

afterwards,  about  the  same  hour  of  the  day,  I  invariably 
witnessed  similar  gatherings  of  these  birds  :  and  from  the  fact 
of  never  having  before  or  since,  seen  a  single  bird  of  this 
description  on  the  water,  although  I  have  seen  very  many  on 
the  wing,  and  at  various  distances  from  land,  I  am  led  to  infer 
that  the  habit  of  the  Shearwater  is  to  remain  at  rest,  and 
probably  asleep,  on  the  water  during  the  mid-day,  the 
period  of  digestion,  and  to  confine  their  fishing  exclusively 
to  the  morning  and  evening." 


OF     THE     SEA     ROUND     THE     8CILLY     ISLANDS.* 

\\  JIEREVER  animals  are  sought  for,  there  are  several 
conditions  of  importance,  upon  which  depend  not  only 
the  result  itself,  but  even  the  probability  of  it.  The 
geological  formation  of  the  islands,  the  climate  and  the 
strength  of  the  tidal  currents,  may  fairly  be  called  the  most 
important  regulators ;  and  before  I  give  a  brief  sketch  of 
the  marine  zoology,  I  cannot  but  draw  the  attention  of  the 
reader  to  these  three  constituents  of  the  physical  and  zoolo- 
gical character  of  the  Islands. 

With  regard  to  the  Geology  of  the  isles  there  will  be  found 
in  this  volume  a  most  valuable  paper  on  the  subject ;  so  that 
I  have  only  to  draw  the  consequences  which  result  from 
the  granitic  formation  on  the  occurrence  of  animal  life. 
With  very  few  exceptions,  this  formation  is  one  of  the  most 

*  For  this  contribution  to  my  work  I  am  indebted  to  the  kindness  of 
J.  Victor  Cams  Ks(|.  M.  D.,  who  passed  the  spring  and  part  of  the  summer 
in  the  Isles,  with  tue  express  object  of  exploring  these  troublesome  seas.  A 
fuller  account  of  his  researches  will  be  found  elsewhere.  Dr.  Carus,  who 
carried  with  him  the  affectionate  regret  of  all  who  knew  him,  left  the  Isles 
towards  the  latter  end  of  August,  1850. 

162  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

unfavourable  to  the  zoologist.  He  finds  barren  rocks,  on 
which  nothing  but  the  irresistible  force  of  the  water  seems 
to  have  any  effect.  In  observing  them  more  closely,  how- 
ever, he  sees  that  life,  even  where  it  appears  in  its  humblest 
forms,  is  stronger  than  the  rude  power  of  the  elements,  and 
he  discovers  animals,  though  few  in  number,  yet  enjoying 
their  lives  even  on  these  sterile  parts  of  our  earth's  crust. 
But  these  are  only  few  compared  with  the  crowd  of  living 
beings  which  revel  in  other  more  productive  provinces  of 
Mr.  Neptune's  empire.  The  reasons  of  this  are  easily  to  be 
found  in  the  chemical  composition  of  the  granite,  of  which 
Silica  amounts  to  seventy-five  per  cent  (in  Cornish  Granite 
according  to  Sir  Henry  De  la  Beche) ;  in  the  great  resist- 
ance which  it  offers  to  the  dissolving  power  of  wind  and 
weather;  and,  on  the  part  of  the  animals,  in  the  equal 
dislike  to  both  these  qualities.  To  enter  more  fully  into  the 
geological  conditions,  on  which  animal  life  chiefly  depends, 
would  lead  me  too  far  from  my  present  purpose.  I  shall 
only  suggest,  that  especially  the  very  subordinate  presence 
of  lime  (chalk,  &c.),  of  which  a  great  amount  is  wanted  in 
building  shells  or  crusts,  which  you  find  so  often  in  lower 
animals,  is  certainly  one  of  the  most  obvious  reasons,  why 
only  few  animals  live  in  granitic  districts. 

The  second  condition,  perhaps  the  first  in  importance,  on 
which  the  peculiarity  of  a  Fauna  depends,  is  the  climate. 
This  is  not  entirely,  at  least  not  always  entirely,  depending 
on  the  geographical  position  of  the  place.  The  presence  of 
sea  or  of  large  inland-lakes,  or  of  forests,  or  the  peculiar 
relative  position,  often  produces  quite  another  climate,  as 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  163 

indeed  might  be  expected  merely  from  taking  the  latitude 
and  longitude.  However,  these  influences  do  not  affect  the 
sea  equally  with  the  land,  and  my  only  object  was  to  search 
for  the  denizens  of  the  water.  The  Isles  of  Scilly  are  situ- 
ated a  little  to  the  west  of  the  sixth  degree  of  western 
longitude  and  exactly  in  the  fiftieth  degree  of  northern 
latitude.  Mr.  Augustus  Smith,  whose  kindness  I  beg  to 
acknowledge  most  thankfully,  informs  me  that  the  Lizard 
point  in  Tresco  has  exactly  the  same  latitude  as  the  Lizard 
point  in  Cornwall,  which  corroborates  my  statement.  These 
Islands  are  therefore  the  most  southern  parts  of  the  united 
kingdom,  if  we  except  the  Channel  Islands,  the  position  of 
which  scarcely  admits  of  their  being  looked  upon  as  a  phy- 
sical part  of  England.  The  mean  temperature  in  summer 
is  58°  and  in  winter  45°. 

The  prevalent  wind  is  South-west  or  West-south-west. 
From  all  this  it  appears  that  the  climatal  conditions  ought  to 
be  very  favourable;  and,  whenever  the  Rennel  current 
permits  it,  we  may  expect  to  find  even  southern  forms 
swept  in  by  the  Atlantic  waves.  These  same  stragglers  are 
found  on  the  Cornish  coast,  the  Fauna  of  which  has  been  so 
admirably  worked  out. 

The  last,  and  I  think  not  the  least  important  fact, 
connected  with  the  distribution  of  Zoological  forms  round 
a  coast  is  the  strength  of  the  tide.  Not  being  able  to  give 
results  of  more  scientific  observations  I  must  content  myself 
with  communicating  the  reports  of  well  experienced  pilots 
and  other  intelligent  seafaring  men.  From  these  I  have 
learned  that  neap  tides  run  one  and  a  half  to  two  miles  an 

164  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

hour,  spring  tides  three.  This  is,  I  beg  to  remark,  the  rate 
at  which  the  tidal  current  makes  way  in  the  adjacent  ocean, 
the  tide  gaining  much  greater,  even  much  more  than  double 
this  strength  in  the  numerous  channels  which  separate  the 
islands  one  from  another.  The  height  of  neap  tides  is 
twelve,  of  spring  tides  eighteen  feet,  although  the  latter  of 
course  have  a  variation  of  several  feet,  so  that  the  littoral 
zone  has  a  range  from  twenty  to  twenty-four  feet. 

Having  thus  shortly  stated,  what  could  influence  the 
population  of  the  Scillonian  sea,  I  must  say  that  it  is  not  at  all 
a  dense  one,  although  there  are  multitudes  of  zoophytes  and 
hosts  of  fishes ;  there  are  only  a  few  mollusks,  some  worms, 
and  a  not  very  large  but  interesting  number  of  Echinoderms 
(Starfish,  Sea-egg,  etc.) 

I  think  it  is  perhaps  worth  mentioning  for  the  use  of 
naturalists,  who  may  dredge  here  after  me,  that  the  state- 
ments on  the  nature  of  the  ground  in  Graeme  Spences  map 
are  always  very  correct,  and  they  may  pay  particular  atten- 
tion to  their  dredge  when  they  find  in  the  chart  an  "  r"  in 
the  midst  of  "  ssh,"  "  s  /'  "  gr,"  etc.  At  other  places,  how- 
ever, this  "r"  does  not  signify  rocks,  which  might  endanger 
the  dredging,  but  merely  stony  ground,  as  for  instance  in  the 
North  Channel  or  Broad  Sound,  where  one  may  fill  the 
dredge  with  stones  without  losing  it.  The  most  productive 
ground  is,  judging  from  my  experience,  the  north-eastern, 
eastern,  and  southern  side  of  the  Islands;  but  1  did  not  find 
so  great  a  variety  of  species  by  dredging,  as  by  examining 
the  shore  at  low  water.  Next,  or  perhaps  equally  productive, 
was  the  laminarian  zone,  the  second  in  depth ;  and  it  is  perhaps 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  165 

worth  remarking  that  I  found  some  animals  at  low-water- 
mark or  even  higher,  which  commonly  inhabit  deeper  water. 

It  would  lengthen  this  paper  unnecessarily,  if  I  should 
enumerate  all  the  species ;  I  shall  confine  myself  therefore 
to  the  mention  of  the  rarer  or  more  characteristic  forms. 

Among  the  Fishes,  of  which  I  obtained  specimens,  the 
Lancelet,  (Amphioocus  lanceolatus)  is  the  most  interesting 
species.  I  found  two  specimens  at  the  Northern  side  of  the 
Seven  Stones,  in  forty  fathoms,  two  other  off  the  Southern 
coast  of  St.  Agnes,  in  twenty-five  fathoms,  and  a  fifth  off 
the  Creeb,  in  the  Road,  in  three  fathoms.  Capt.  Hugh 
Tregarthen,  to  whom  I  am  very  much  obliged  for  several 
delightful  dredging  excursions  in  the  nice  Trinity  yacht, 
"  Scilly,"  knows,  how  the  sight  of  these  beautiful  little  animals 
creates  joy  and  happiness,  even  amidst  water-spouts  and 
tumbling  waves.  Of  the  other  fishes,  some  belong  to  the 
West  European  seas  in  common,  as  the  grey  Gurnard,  (Trigla 
Gurnardns);  the  Mackerel,  (Scomber  scomber);  the  Shan, 
(Blennins  pholis) ;  the  Hake,  (Merlucius  vulgaris);  the 
Sole,  (Solea  Vulgaris) ;  the  Plaice,  different  species  of 
Pleuronectes,  the  Conger,  (Conger  vulgaris);  and  others, 
which  are  all  more  or  less  common  at  Scilly ;  others  are  re- 
presentative rather  of  the  South  British  Fauna,  as  the  common 
Sea  Bream,  (Pagellus  centrodontus ) ;  the  Sandsmelt,  (Ath- 
erina  presbyter);  the  Pilchard,  (Clupea  pilchardus);  and 
so  on ;  lastly  I  found  some,  which  occur  all  round  the  coast, 
though  rarer  than  those  first  mentioned,  as  the  Sun-fish, 
( Orthagoriscus  mola) ;  the  Cornish  and  spotted  Sucker, 
( Lepadog aster  Cornubiencis )  and  (  bimaculatus )  and  some 

166  A    WEEK    IN   THE 

others,  or  which  are  comparatively  rare  in  the  South,  though 
abundant  in  the  North,  as  the  Cod,  (Gadus  Morrhua) ; 
the  Lumpsucker,  (Cyclopterus  lumpus);  the  Herring,  (Clupea 
Harengus).  Of  great  economical  importance,  are  the  Scad, 
(Caranx  trachurns);  the  Conger,  the  Ling,  (Lota  molva) ; 
which  are  taken  in  great  numbers,  and  dried  and  preserved 
as  winter  stores. 

The  greater  number  of  Shellfishes  were  found  between 
tide  marks.  Beyond  these  there  were  only  the  Patella  pel- 
lucida  in  the  laminarian  roots,  some  minute  species  of  A  nomia 
in  deeper  water  and  some  few  of  the  almost  microscopical 
univalves,  the  species  of  which  I  have  not  yet  had  means  to 
identify.  The  Limpet,  (Patella  vulgata)  occurs  on  many 
places  even  beyond  high- water-mark.  That  there  exists  a 
specific  difference  between  those  higher  growing  limpets, 
and  those  nearer  low-water-mark,  I  could  not  satisfy  myself. 
The  fishermen,  however,  despise  the  higher  ones  as  coarse 
bait,  which  no  reasonable  fish  would  take.  It  abounds  all 
round  the  Isles,  and  is  frequently  used  as  bait,  and  even  as 
food;  but  I  am  afraid  even  scalloped  limpets  would  not 
suit  a  refined  palate.  Equally  abundant  on  rocks  is 
Turbo  littoreus,  the  Periwinkle,  and  Trochtis  ziziphinus, 
and  umbilicatus,  whilst  Cockles,  Scallops,  Razor-shells, 
and  Queens,  are  found  in  the  sandy  flats  of  Tresco  and 
St  Martin's,  though  scarcer  than  the  former. 

There  is  also  a  pretty  large  number  of  naked  Mollusks, 
found  either  between  tide-marks  on  rocks,  or  in  deeper  water. 
They  mostly  belong  to  the  genera  Doris,  Eolis,  Hermcea, 
Triopa,  Polycera,  Doto,  Aplysia,  and  Actceon.  Especially 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  167 

in  favour  as  an  habitat  for  some  of  them  is  that  pretty  sea- 
weed, Codiurn  tomentosum,  on  the  leaves  of  which,  some 
specimens  either  of  Actaeon  or  Hermoea  are  nearly  always 
to  be  found. 

The  lowest  animals  of  the  molluscous  class,  the  Ascidians, 
those  curious  jelly-like  animals,  "  which  live  at  the  bottom 
of  their  own  lungs,"  have  numerous  representatives  in 
these  Islands,  especially  those  social  forms  which  live 
together  embedded  in  one  common  mass,  and  which  we 
call  compound  Ascidians.  There  is  scarcely  one  stone  at 
St.  Martin's  flats,  or  the  South-western  point  of  Samson, 
which  does  not  bear  some  forms  of  these  animals.  Out  of 
thirty  species  recorded  as  British,  in  Professor  Forbes's 
and  Mr.  Hanley's  work  on  British  Mollusca,  I  found 
twenty  species  to  be  inhabitants  of  the  Scilly  Islands.  I 
was  less  fortunate  with  regard  to  the  simple  Ascidians,  rinding 
only  about  eight  species,  most  of  them  in  deep  water  off 
Peninnis  Head,  and  the  South  coast  of  St.  Agnes. 

Marine  articulated  animals,  (as  Crabs  and  Worms,)  occur 
most  generally  round  these  Islands,  yet  more  numerous 
with  regard  to  specific  difference  than  to  the  frequency  of 
specimens  of  a  single  species.  A  list  of  higher  Crustacea 
has  kindly  been  sent  by  Mr.  Couch.  But  also  some  lower 
forms  occur,  though  not  very  plentiful.  Among  the  parasitic 
sucking  Crustacea,  (Siphonostomata)  I  found  some  inter- 
esting species  belonging  to  the  genera  Cirolana,  Cccrops, 
Lcemargus,  Caliyus,  &c.  And  the  family  of  sand-hoppers, 
water-fleas  and  others,  which  seem  to  be  nothing  but  legs, 
have  not  been  forgotten,  when  these  lonely  Isles  were  first 

168  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

peopled.  Only  three  forms  of  Cirripedia,  (Barnacles,  &c.,) 
came  under  my  notice,  the  first,  a  Balanus,  which  covers 
some  of  the  Western  rocks  entirely,  and  is  abundant 
everywhere ;  the  second  a  pedunculated  form,  adhering  to 
Corallines  from  deep  water;  and  lastly  one  out  of  the 
mouth  of  a  sun-fish,  who  had  gone  to  sleep  before  it 
occurred  to  him  to  chew  his  dessert.  There  were  thousands 
of  the  common  Barnacle  sticking  to  a  piece  of  wreck  at  the 
Western  coast  of  Annet,  but  they  came  probably  with  the 
vessel,  and  do  not  belong  to  the  Fauna  of  this  place. 

Of  Worms  I  obtained  but  few  specimens.  The  most 
common  is  a  species  of  Nereis,  which  the  fishermen  use  for 
bait,  the  common  lugworm  being  rather  scarce,  at  least  at 
certain  times  of  the  year.  Another  species  of  the  same 
genus  is  generally  found  in  the  roots  of  laminarians  and  at 
low-water-mark,  where  also  some  of  the  sedentary  forms, 
are  to  be  found.  I  did  not  find  a  single  specimen  of  the 
Seamouse,  (Aphrodite)  but  as  representatives  of  the  family 
some  species  of  Polynoe.  Some  fishes  furnished  me  with 
intestinal  worms,  of  which  Tristoma  Molae  from  the  skin  of 
the  same  uncouth  looking  Sunfish  is  the  most  interesting. 

The  next  class  is  that  of  the  Echinodermata  (animals  with 
spinous  skin.)  Among  the  true  starfishes  the  Gibbous  Star- 
let, (Asterina  Gibbosa)  is  the  most  common.  It  is  found 
between  tide-marks  everywhere.  The  next  in  abundance  is 
the  common  Crossfish,  (Uraster  Rubens)  which  during  the 
time  of  my  stay  has  kept  between  tide-marks.  Rare  are  the 
spiny  Crossfish,  (Uraster  Glacialis)  the  eyed  Cribella,  and 
the  Butthorn,  (Asterias  Aurantiaca)  of  which  I  found  only 

ISLES    OF    SC1LLY.  169 

single  specimens.  The  Sand  and  Brittle-stars  are  repre- 
sented by  five  species,  as  far  as  I  know.  The  Rosy  Feather- 
star,  (  Comatula  Rosea)  one  of  the  finest  animals  which  people 
the  sea,  "  whose  history  is  a  little  romance,"  occurred  only 
twice  in  fifteen  fathoms,  but  very  frequently  between  tide- 
marks.  There  came  up  with  the  dredge  one  fine  adult  and 
one  young  specimen  of  Echinus  Flemingii,  Fleming's  Sea- 
urchin,  one  of  the  rarest  British  Echinoderms,  from  thirty 
fathoms  water  off  Menawethan.  Besides  this,  the  Common 
Sea-urchin,  (E.  sphcera)  and  Purple  Hearturchin,  (Spatangus 
purpureus)  were  frequently  caught ;  also  the  green  Sea-urchin, 
( Echinocyamus  pusillus)  made  its  appearance  frequently. 
The  angular  Sea-cucumber,  (Cucumaria  pentactes)  and  the 
Nigger  or  Cottonspinner  (whose  systematic  name  I  have  not 
been  able  to  find)  the  former  more  common  than  the  latter, 
were  found  between  tide-marks  and  in  the  laminarian  zone. 
New  to  the  British  Fauna  is  a  Synapte  (Duverncea  ?)  which 
I  found,  dredging  in  very  shallow  water  between  St.  Martin's 
and  Great  Ganilly,  adhering  to  the  rope. 

Medusa  seem  to  occur  abundantly,  the  sea  sparkling  in 
calm  nights  like  fluid  gold ;  but  I  have  not  yet  obtained 
sufficient  materials  to  give  any  remarks  on  them. 

On  the  Zoophytes  you  will  find  an  excellent  paper  here- 
after; the  list  subjoined  is  so  complete,  that  I  could  find 
but  few  species  which  were  not  observed  by  the  author  of 
"The  Cornish  Fauna." 

Taking  all  together,  I  do  not  think  that  these  Islands 
could  be  compared  with  regard  to  their  zoology  to  other 
localities;  to  the  Channel  Islands  for  instance,  which  are 

170  ISLES    OF    SCILLY. 

also  granite ;  nor  should  I  be  inclined  to  believe  that  they 
could  prove  it  to  be  a  mere  prejudice  to  think  them  less 
productive  than  other  parts  of  the  British  Coast.  However, 
they  yielded  not  only  several  rare,  but  even  new  forms,  and 
I  think  it  will  be  always  worth  while  to  spend  some  weeks 
here  dredging  and  exploring  the  tide-marks,  the  better  time 
for  which  is  now  perhaps  coming  on. 

Finally,  I  cannot  shake  hands  without  giving  my  sincerest 
thanks  to  all  those  gentlemen,  who  made  my  sojourn  in  this 
western  end  of  the  world  so  agreeable  and  instructive. 
Good  bye ! 


MANY  of  the  visiters  to  these  Islands  will  no  doubt  have 
observed  in  the  course  of  their  wanderings  along  the  sea 
margin  of  the  beaches,  numerous  dead  crabs  lying  amidst 
the  tangle  of  the  sea-weed.  These  are  not  what  they  at 
first  seem,  and  in  fact,  are  not  dead  crabs  at  all ;  or  not 
more  so  than  the  cast  skin  of  the  serpent  is  the  serpent 
itself.  On  examination  these  shells  will  be  found  to 
be  entirely  hollow,  destitute  of  even  a  fragment  of  flesh. 
The  eyes,  the  claws,  the  body,  are  the  mere  skins  which 
the  former  owners  have  left  to  be  destroyed  by  the  winds  and 
waves.  It  must  be  known  to  all,  that  crabs  and  lobsters 
like  most  other  creatures,  grow ;  and  yet  perhaps  it  has 
rarely,  if  ever,  occurred  to  the  mind  to  enquire  how  that 
growth  can  be  effected,  seeing  that  the  external  case  is  so  solid 
and  unyielding.  These  fragments  found  on  the  shore  will 
explain  the  mystery.  All  crabs  and  lobsters  grow,  first  by 
casting  off  the  hard  external  case,  and  afterwards  rapidly 
enlarging  the  new  one  before  it  has  become  hard.  In  the 

172  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

very  young,  this  process  is  effected  frequently  through  the 
year ;  but  less  so  as  they  get  older.  Those  of  middle  size 
do  it  from  once  to  four  times  during  the  year,  while  in  the 
very  old  it  is  of  irregular  and  rare  occurrence.  When  a 
crab  is  about  to  cast  its  shell,  it  becomes  more  inactive  than 
usual;  a  new  skin  is  formed  under  the  old  crust,  and 
finally  the  old  one  is  altogether  removed  from  any  vital 
connection  with  the  animal.  During  this  process  the  differ- 
ent seams  become  loose,  and  the  frame  fragile.  In  most 
crabs,  there  is  a  waved  seam  under  the  front  of  the  back 
or  dorsal  surface,  this  becomes  disunited  and  the  two  edges 

'  O 

become  separated ;  and  this  is  continued  quite  round  to  the 
hinder  legs.  This  separation  gradually  increases,  and  the 
animal,  by  imbibing  sea-water,  obtains  a  great  lever  by 
which  all  the  external  parts  become  widely  separated.  The 
animals  then  escape  backward,  leaving  the  shell  entire,  and 
as  the  parts  are  elastic  they  then  close  again  and  thus  it  leaves 
the  case  as  perfect  as  if  the  crab  still  remained  within.  The 
creature  after  it  has  escaped,  is  as  soft  as  wet  parchment,  and 
may  be  wrapped  into  any  shape.  The  internal  parts  are  all 
present  but  very  indistinct  from  this  watery  condition.  No 
sooner  is  the  animal  liberated  from  the  old  shell,  than  it 
swallows  a  large  quantity  of  fluid,  and  distends  itself  to  the 
utmost.  In  this  state  we  have  known  a  crab  grow  from  one 
inch  and  a  half  to  two  inches  and  one-eighth  in  a  very  few 
minutes.  The  crabs  do  not  remain  in  this  soft  state  very 
long.  Fresh  lime  is  deposited  in  the  new  skin,  which  in  a 
few  days  becomes  as  hard  as  that  just  shed.  In  casting  the 
old  shell,  every  part  of  the  body  is  renewed.  The  coatings 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  173 

of  the  eye,  of  the  stomach,  blood-vessels,  and  the  large  flat 
structures  in  the  claws  are  left  behind  and  re-formed  in  the 
new.     If  a  crab  has  suffered  an  injury,  or  lost  a  claw,  the 
injuries  are  repaired  and  the  claws  are  reproduced  in  these 
periodical  renewings  of  youth.     Notwithstanding,  however, 
these  renovations,  age  will  at  length   assert  her  rights,  and 
inflict  her  penalties.     They  lose  at  last,  their  full  power  of 
entirely    shedding   the   shell   and    hence    frequently    die  in 
the  very  act.     This    mode    of  growth  will  readily  explain 
what  visiters  will  frequently  find  in  their  researches  among 
the  rocks.    In  the  first  place  it  shows  why  so  many  empty 
shells  are  occasionally  seen  washed  up  by  the  tide ;  in  the 
second,  why  crabs  in  a  soft  watery    state,  are    sometimes 
found  below  stones,  between  tide-marks ;  and  in  the  last, 
why  the  claws  of  crabs  are  so  irregular  in  size.    We  could 
willingly  enter  more  particularly  into  interesting  detail   on 
on  these  points  but  our  limits  forbid.      To  those  who  wish 
to    know  more  on  the  subject,  we  would  recommend  the 
Reports  of  the  Polytechnic  Society  of  Cornwall,*  and  the 
History  of  British  Crustacea  by  Bell.'}-     In  these  works  it 
will  be  found,  that  the  crab,  like  the  butterfly  undergoes  a 
series  of  metamorphoses  on  its  passages  from  the  egg  to  the 
adult  state.     But  we  turn  from  these  considerations  to  those 
of  more  practical  utility,  especially  to  those  who  are  fond  of 
crabs  as  an  addition  to  the  pleasures  of  the  table. 

The   Common   or   Edible    Crab,   (Cancer   Pagurus)   is 
common  from  the  smallest  to  the  largest  size.     Those  best 

*  Papers  by  Messrs.  J.  and  R.  Q.  Couch. 
t  Published  by  Vun  Voorst. 

174  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

fitted  for  the  table  are  the  males,  the  females  being  rarely 
sought  after.  The  distinction  between  the  sexes  may  at  once 
be  ascertained,  by  examining  the  triangular  flap  that  lies 
bent  on  the  under-portion  of  the  crab ;  in  the  males  it  is 
narrow,  occupying  the  centre  of  the  groove  only,  while 
in  the  females  it  is  widely  spread  even  to  the  roots  of 
the  claws  on  either  side.  The  males  only  are  selected 
for  the  London  market.  Crabs  are  sometimes  said  to 
be  in  and  out  of  season,  according  to  the  solidity  of  the 
flesh ;  but  this  can  apply  only  to  that  individual  case,  and 
not  to  the  general  season.  If  the  crabs  and  lobsters  change 
their  shells  irregularly  throughout  the  year,  there  must  be 
many  both  in  and  out  of  season,  during  every  month  of  the 
year;  and  the  fluidity  of  the  flesh  depends  therefore  only 
on  the  arrival  of  the  period  in  which  they  may  be  about  to 
cast  their  shells. 

Lobsters  are  also  abundant  in  deep  water,  and  are  ex- 
ported to  the  London  and  other  Markets. 

Prawns  are  to  be  found  among  the  pools  and  between 
the  rocks  at  low  water,  in  great  abundance ;  large  quantities 
of  which  are  weekly  sent  to  the  market  at  Penzance. 

The  subjoined  is  a  list  of  the  Crustacea  which  we  have 
discovered  in  the  neighbourhood. 

Smaller  Spider  Crab. .  Stenorynchus  longirostis,  deep  water,  soft  ground. 

. Phalangium,  deep  water,  among  rocks. 

Scorpion  Spider Inachus  scorpio,  in  crab  pots. 

Dorynchus,  in  crab  pots. 

Sea  Spider Pisa  Gibsii,  crab  pots. 

Corwich Maia  squinado,  in  moderately  deep  water. 

Furrowed  Crab       ....  Xantho  florida,  low  water,  under  stones. 

Small  Furrowed  Crab  . rivulosa,  low  water,  under  stones. 

Crab Cancer  Pagurus,  low-water  rocks. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  175 

Furry  Crab Pilumnus  hirtellus,  under  stones,  low-water. 

Canker Carcinus  moenos,  common. 

Veket  Crab Portunus  puber,   common  about  tide-marks,  under 

stones . 

Nipper  Crab corrugatus,  rare. 

Swimming  Crab depurator,  rare,  taken  in  nets. 

Marbled  Crab marmoreus,  deep  water,  nets. 

Livid  Swimming  Crab  holsatus,  fragment  of  shell  only,  at  Old 

Grimsby . 
Swimming  Nipper  Crab  Polybius  Henslowii,  pilchard  nets,  deep  water. 

Angular  Crab Gonoplax  angulata,  trawl. 

Planes  Linnceana,  in  sea-weed. 

Long  Armed  Crab. . . .   Corystes  Cassivelaunus,  Grimsby,  on  the  beach. 

Common  Soldier Pagurus  Bernhardus,  common. 

Hermit  Crab Prideauxii,  old  shells. 

Hermit  ulidianus,  shells. 

Hermit Hyndmanni,  rare. 

Hermit laevis. 

Hairy  Crab Porcellana  platycheles,  low-water,  under  stones. 

Hair  Crab longicornis,  low-water. 

Plated  Lobster Galathea  squamifera,  off  the  shores. 

Spinous  Lobster strigosa 

Craw  Fish Palinurus  vulgaris,  common  in  deep  water . 

Lobster Homarus  vulgaris, 

Shrimp Crangon  vulgaris,  common. 

•• Hyppolyte  cranchii,  crab  pots,  rare. 

Prawn Palsemon  serratus,  common. 

Note. — Mr.  Couch,  who  has  furnished  me  with  the  full  and  accurate  account  of 
the  Zoophytes  which  is  subjoined,  has  also  favoured  me  with  this  interesting 
information  on  the  Crustacea.  I  feel  that  my  thanks  are  a  very  inadequate 
return  for  the  pains  which  he  has  taken  on  my  behalf. 

THE  creatures  included  under  the  term  Zoophyte  are  exceed- 
ingly interesting;  for  though  rooted  and  arborescent,  and  in 
many  other  particulars  assuming  the  external  appearance  of 
vegetables,  yet  they  are  in  reality  of  an  animal  character. 
It  may  be  difficult  to  persuade  the  uninitiated  of  the  truth 
of  this.  Fixed  to  their  bed  by  roots  as  perfectly  as  any 
tree,  with  branches  spreading  in  all  directions,  with  buds  and 
blossoms,  and  a  periodic  developement  of  fruit  which  falls 
off  when  ripe;  with  characters  thus  vegetable,  it  seems  a 
contradiction  to  the  evidence  of  our  senses  to  suppose  them 
to  be  of  any  other  than  vegetable  origin.  But  notwith- 
standing all  this  their  animal  character  is  undoubted.  The 
little  cups  which  are  observed  to  give  the  zigzag  appearance 
to  the  branches  and  stems  of  the  horny  kinds,  are  the 
habitation  of  the  little  polypes  which  have  erected  the 
superstructure.  The  polypes  nestle  in  these  cups  when 
in  a  state  of  rest,  but  when  taking  their  food,  they  protrude 
themselves  from  their  hiding  place  and  extend  their  flexible 


178  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

arms  to  catch  their  prey.  This  is  no  sooner  done  than  it  is 
conveyed  to  the  mouth  and  into  the  stomach,  where  it  is 
digested.  The  nourishment  thus  taken  by  each  polype  is 
conveyed  to  all  parts  of  the  tree  by  means  of  a  central  vital 
pulp,  which  connects  all  the  polypes  together.  The  larger 
cells  frequently  observed,  are  the  fruit  or  ovarian  vesicles, 
and  are  produced  in  the  summer  and  autumn,  then  ripen 
and  fall  off.  These  cells  contain  small  globes  covered  with 
minute  hairs,  which  are  constantly  in  motion.  When  the 
grains  have  escaped  into  the  surrounding  water,  they  whirl 
themselves  about,  like  worlds  in  miniature,  in  search  of  a 
place  on  which  to  rest.  According  to  the  temperature  is  the 
time  thus  occupied.  Having  settled  on  a  fitting  spot,  the 
hairs  on  the  lower  part  become  converted  into  roots,  and 
that,  which  was  before  so  active  and  unrestrained  a  creature, 
becomes  rooted  for  as  long  a  period  as  life  shall  last.  The 
roots  below  increase  and  the  upper  parts  shoot  up  into  the 
forms  characteristic  of  each  species.  It  would  be  out  of 
place  in  a  work  like  the  present  to  enter  into  the  strange 
eventful  history  of  these  creatures  ;  to  say  how  they  resist 
the  injuries  of  the  knife,  how  they  can  be  cut  up  and  yet 
each  part  can  become  a  new  animal,  or  how  they  can  be 
turned  inside  out,  and  yet  digestion  will  go  on  as  well  as 
before ;  these  points  will  be  found  fully  described  in  works 
dedicated  to  this  branch  of  Natural  History. 

The  species  here  enumerated  have  been  taken  among  the 
islands.  In  making  the  examination  the  collector  was 
satisfied  with  a  single  specimen  of  each,  and  hence  he  did 
not  carefully  note  the  frequency  with  which  each  species 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  179 

occurred.  There  can  be  no  doubt,  but  that  the  localities  in 
which  they  may  be  found  would  have  been  increased,  if  time 
had  permitted  a  longer  search,  and  several  species  will 
probably  be  added  to  the  list  by  subsequent  observers. 
The  present  enumeration  therefore,  must  be  taken  as  the 
result  of  a  very  limited  examination,  and  must  be  considered 
as  only  an  approximation  to  the  true  number.  The  names 
employed  are  chiefly  those  used  in  the  third  part  of  the 
Fauna  of  Cornwall;  and  this  has  been  done  to  facilitate 
any  reference  which  collectors  may  be  desirous  of  making : 
for  in  that  work  there  is  an  extensive  list  of  synonyms 
for  each  species.  Among  those  here  enumerated  is  the 
Gorgonla  flabellum,  a  species  found  also  by  Dr.  Borlase 
on  the  shores  of  Mount's  Bay.  I  think  it  must  be  allowed 
that  the  specimen  of  Mount's  Bay  and  that  found  at  Bar 
Point  are  Foreign.  Both  were  dead  when  discovered,  as 
well  as  much  injured,  and  the  great  number  of  homeward- 
bound  vessels  that  shelter  among  the  islands  will  fully 
account  for  the  occasional  appearance  of  the  species  in 
that  locality.  After  extensive  dredging  and  examination  of 
the  dredges  of  trawlers  from  different  parts  of  the  shores, 
no  living  specimen  has  yet  been  discovered. 

The  subjoined  is  a  List  of  Zoophytes  found  at  Scilly. 

Coryne  squamata,  on  tea-weeds  and  rocks  between  tide-marks.     Pen- 

innvs  Head,  St.  Mary's,  St.  Agnes,  and  Tresco. 
Hydractinia  echinata,  St.   Mary's,  Tresco.     Formerly  supposed   to  be 

a  variety  of  C.  Squamata. 
Hcrmia  glandulosa,    on  stones  between   tide-marks,  St.   Mary's,   St. 


Tubularia  ramca,  from  deep  water,  between  Samson  and  Annet. 
indivisa,  off  St. Mary's,  deep  water. 

180  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

Tabularia  larynx,  at  low-water  mark,  on  the  under  surface  of  over- 
hanging rocks  in  muddy  situations,  Tresco  and  Samson, 

Thoa  halecina,  a  shell  from  deep  water  off  St.  Mary's. 

Sertularia  polyzonias,  Vara.  and  b.}  with  S.  Ellisii,  on  shells  and 
stones,  from  deep  water . 

pumila,  between  tide-marks,  on  fuel,  St.  Mary's,  Tresco,  St. 

Agnes,  and  St.  Martin's. 

tamarisca,  St.  Martin's,  deep  water . 

>  abietina,  St.  Mary's,  off  Old  Town. 

filicula,  on  sea-weeds,  L.  digitata,  $c. 

operculata,  St.  Martin's,  on  the  stem  of  large  sea-weeds. 

argentea,  from  deep  water  off  Kettle  Point,  Tresco. 

cupressina,  Tresco. 

Thuiaria  thuja,  fragments  found  on  the  beach  at  Porcrasa  Hay,  St. 

Antennularia  antennina,  St.  Mary's. 

ramosa,  off  Johnston,  St.  Mary's. 

Plumularia  falcata,  deep  water,  Tresco. 

— • cristata,  on  the  stems  of  the  larger  sea-weed. 

•^^—^— —  catherina,  fragment  on  a  shell  at  St.  Martin's. 

frutescens,  St.  Mary's. 

Laomedea  dichotoma,  in  pools  between  tide  marks. 

Geniculata,  in  pools. 

obliqua,  a  small  specimen  from  Bryher. 

Campanularia  syringa,  St.  Agnes. 

dumosa,  parasitical  on  P.  falcata,  Tresco. 

Gorgonia  verrucosa,  from  deep  water. 

flabellum,    a  dead  specimen  on  the  beach  under  Har  Point, 

St.  Mary's. 

Alcyonium  digitatum,  deep  water,  on  shells. 
Turbinolia  borealis,  on  a  stone  from  deep  water ;  a  variety,  I  believe, 

of  Caryophyllia  Smithii . 

Milletiana,  dredged  off  the  coast  of  Scilly,  by  Mr.   Mac 

Andrew,  and  Professor  Forbes. 
Caryophyllia  Smithii,  deep  water,  on  stones 
Zoanthus  Couchii,  off  the  North  of  Tresco. 
Capnea  sanguinca,  Tresco.  Deep  water,  on  a  shell. 
Corynactis  viridis,  St.  Mary's, 
Actinia  mesembryanthemum,  pools  and  rocks. 

margaratifera,  St.  Mary's. 

viduata,  Tresco,  sandy  places  between  tide-marks. 

alba,  in  muddy  crevices . 

chrysanthellum,  inlets  in  a  sandy  nook,  North  of  Tresco, 

• gemmacea  var  b,,  Tresco. 

parasitica,  deep  water,  on  a  shell. 

bellis,  in  pools  and  in  crevices  and  muddy  nooks. 

ISLES    OP    SCILLY.  181 

Actinia  dianthus,  pools. 
Anthea  cereus,  pools. 

Lucernaria  auricula,    beyond  low-toater-mark,  underneath  the  Castle, 
St.  Mary't. 

fascicularis,  by  Dr.  Carus,  at  Norwithiel,  on  muddy  stones,  at 

low-water -mark. 

Tubulipora  patina,  on  stones  and  shells  from  deep  water,  St.  Martin's. 

hispida  St.  Martin's. 

penicillata,  St.  Martin's. 

phalangea,  St.  Martin's 

serpens,  St.  Martin's 

. obelia,  Tresco,  from  the  North  Shore. 

trahens,  St.  Mary's,  deep  water. 

Crisia  eburnea,  among  the  roots  of  the  larger  sea-weed. 

cornuta,  Roots  of  sea-weed. 

chelatus,  Roots  of  sea-weed. 

Hippothoa  catenularia,  on  shell  from  deep  water. 

cassiterides,  on  a  stone  between  the  Islands  and  Land's  End- 

Cellepora  pumicosa,  on  shells  and  stones. 

ramulosa,  off  Annet. 

cervicoruis,  deep  water. 

Lepralia  granifera,  on  a  stone  at  St.  Agnes. 

pedilostoma,  St.  Agnes,  St.  Mary's. 

reticulata,  St.  Agnes. 

variolosa,  St.  Mary's. 

nitida,  Si.  Agnes. 

trident ata,  St.  Agnes. 

immersa,  St.  Mary's. 

Membranipora  pilosa  var  a.  and  b. ,  on  sea-weed. 

membranacea,  on  sea-weed. 

Cellularia  ciliata,  on  corallines  and  roots  of  sea-weed. 

scruposa,  among  the  roots  of  tea-weed. 

reptans,  among  the  matted  roots  of  sea-weed. 

avicularia,  from  deep  water  on  the  roots  of  sea-weed. 

Flustra  foliacea,  a  fragment  on  the  Crow  Bar,  St.  Mary's. 

membranacea,  on  the  fronds  of  sea-weed,  as  a  thin  gauze-like 

expansion . 

Eschara  foliacea,  deep  water. 

Retepora  reticulata,  fragment  on  the  strand  at  Old  Town  Bay. 
Salicornia  farciminoides,  deep  water. 
Valkeria  spinosa,  on  sea-weed,  Tresco . 

cuscata,  on  Sert  Pumila. 

Serialaria  lendigera,  on  sea-weed,  Tresco. 

I  am  indebted  to  the  kindness  of  E.  W.  Cooke,  Esq.,*  for 
some  interesting  information  relative  to  the  Ferns  which 
are  to  be  found  in  the  Isles.  Mr.  Cooke  did  not  visit  us 
until  the  month  of  September,  when,  to  quote  his  words, 
"  some  species  disappear,  or  rather  so  dwindle  down  as  not 
to  be  readily  recognized."  Of  these,  however,  he  says 
"  I  do  not  think  that  more  than  two  may  have  escaped  me." 
"  Without  doubt "  he  adds  "  the  grand  botanical  feature 
of  Scilly,  is  that  most  beautiful  and  very  interesting  species, 
Asplenium  marinum,  or  Sea  Spleenwort.  It  attains  among 
the  spray- washed  rocks,  which  gird  the  Islands  of  Scilly,  a 
luxuriance  no  where  else  to  be  met  with  in  Britain ;  and,  I 
should  venture  to  say,  not  excelled  in  any  part  of  Europe. 

"In  the  fissures  of  rocks,  which  form  those  peculiar  earns 
or  promontories  which  radiate  in  every  direction,  and  are 
so  remarkable  a  feature  of  the  Islands,  this  fern  grows  most 

*  Mr.  Cooke,  whose  residence  is  the  "  Perns"  Kensington,  has  made  this 
province  of  the  botanical  kingdom  his  peculiar  study. 

184  ISLES    OF    SCILLY. 

superbly,  attaining  to  the  length  of  nearly  thirty-three 
inches.  At  Peninnis  Head,  Forth  Hellick,  and  other  parts  of 
the  South  Coast  of  St.  Mary's,  it  is  the  most  abundant :  but 
I  met  with  it  on  most  of  the  rocks  in  St.  Mary's,  St.  Agnes, 
and  Tresco ;  the  usual  length  of  the  fronds  being  twelve, 
fifteen,  or  twenty  inches.  The  fronds  are  generally  fertile, 
and  often  in  confluent  fruit.  Its  roots  are  black  and  brittle ; 
and  penetrate  far  into  the  crevices  of  the  rocks,  (which  are 
chiefly  of  the  very  coarsest  granite,  and  which,  therefore, 
readily  decompose,)  and  are  attached  so  firmly  that  the 
plants  are  not  obtained  without  much  patience  and  difficulty. 

"To  the  very  congenial  air  of  Scilly,  the  temperature 
averaging  in  summer  58°,  and  in  winter  45°,  may  be 
attributed  the  perfection  of  this  plant.  The  extreme  saline 
influences  to  which  these  Islands  are  subject,  are  at  the 
same  time  a  favourable  cause  of  no  less  importance. 

"  The  difficulty,  if  not  the  impossibility  of  cultivating  this 
species  in  the  open  air,  away  from  the  sea,  is  too  well  known 
to  need  comment :  *  but  it  luxuriates  in  the  stove,  and  will 
bear  any  degree  of  heat,  if  accompanied  by  moist  atmos- 
phere. Specimens  which  I  obtained  from  Scilly  in 
September,  1848,  are  now  growing  very  beautifully  in  my 
hot-house.  They  are  planted  between  masses  of  sand-stone, 
and  fruit  abundantly.  I  saw  some  beautiful  plants  growing 
in  a  well  near  the  Star  Castle,  St.  Mary's. 

Asplenium  lanceolatum,  a  species  whose  habitat  must  be 
sought  also,  with  few  exceptions,  near  the  sea-coast,  as  far 

*  The  genera  of  Trichomanes  and  Hymenophyllum,  also  requiring 
perpetual  moisture,  can  only  be  cultivated  under  bell  glasses  or  in  ward- 
cases  j  and  these  are,  perhaps,  of  still  more  difficult  culture. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  185 

as  my  observation  extended,  grows  only  in  St.  Agnes. 
Some  specimens,  which  I  found  near  the  Light-house,  were 
so  much  smaller  than  the  Cornish  species,  and  presented  so 
distinct  a  character,  that  I  think  they  may  be  considered  as 
constituting  a  variety.  Most  of  the  fronds  were  fertile. 

"Asplenium  adiantum  nigrum,  or  Black  Spleenwort,  I  also 
found  in  St  Agnes ;  but  did  not  meet  with  it  elsewhere. 

"  I  have  also  an  impression  that  Asplenium  ruta-muraria 
was  growing  on  a  stone  wall  in  St.  Mary's,  between  the 
town  and  Holy  Vale. 

"  Lastrcea  recurva,  so  abundant  in  the  West  of  Cornwall, 
I  found  but  in  one  locality  on  St.  Mary's ;  and  I  do  not 
think  it  is  likely  to  be  met  with  in  the  off-islands. 

"Osmunda  regalis,  or  royal  flowering  fern,  is  very  abundant 
in  one  (and  I  believe  the  only)  locality,  viz.,  the  Marsh  near 
Old  Town,  St.  Mary's.  In  this  spot,  intersected  as  it  is 
with  water,  this  noble  fern  spreads  over  a  considerable  tract 
of  swampy  ground,  attaining  a  very  large  size.  The  rich, 
amber  colour  of  its  luxuriant  foliage  presents  in  the  autumn 
a  most  charming  effect.  Numerous  small  plants  dispersed 
amidst  the  larger  ones,  and  equally  fertile,  presented  all  the 
characters  which  belong  to  the  Osmunda  gracile  of  North 
America,  being  most  exquisitely  and  delicately  formed. 

"In  the  Marsh  also  we  met  with  Lastrce  jilix-mas,  Lastrcea 
dilatata,  and  Lastrcea  spinulosa,  together  with  Asplenium 
filix  ftzmina,  in  great  profusion.  The  two  former  species 
are  also  generally  distributed  in  St.  Mary's. 

"Polypodium  vulgare  is  abundant  on  the  walls  in  St.  Mai  \  's 
and  St.  Agnes.  It  is  very  large  and  fine  at  Holy  Vale. 

B  B 

186  A   WEEK    IN   THE 

"  Scolopendrium  officinarum,  or  common  Hart's-tongue,  I 
also  saw  in  the  well*  before  mentioned,  but  I  do  not  recollect 
observing  it  elsewhere. 

"  Pteris  Aquilina  is  generally  distributed,  but  small." 
The  following  is  a  list  of  the  different  genera  and  species 
which  Mr.  Cooke  found  here. 

Osmunda  Regalis,  Royal  or  Flowering  fern . 
Asplenium  marinum,  Sea  Spleen-wort. 

adiantum  nigrum,  Slack-hair1 'd  maiden. 

ruta  muraria,   W nil-rue  fern. 

lanceolatum,  Hudson's  Spleen-wort- 

filix-foemina,  Lady-fern. 

Lastroea  filix-mas,  Male-fern. 

recurva,  Bree's-fern. 

dilatata,  Broad  shield  fern. 

spinulosa,  A  variety  of  the  preceding . 

Polystichum  lobatum,  Prickly  fern. 

angulare,  A  varitty  of  the  preceding, 

Polypodium  vulgare,  Common  poly~pody. 
Scolopendrium  officinarum,  Common  hart't-tongue. 
Pteris  aquilina,  Common  brake . 

The  weather  was  very  rough  and  stormy  during  Mr. 
Cooke's  sojourn  in  the  Isles,  so  that  he  was  prevented 
visiting  Bryher,  St.  Martin's,  and  Sampson,  where  he  thinks 
it  probable  that  he  might  have  met  with  some  other  species. 

*  The  well  here  meant,  is  that  at  the  entrance  of  the  Garrison,  near  the 
master-gunner's  house.  I  may  add,  however,  that  this  fern  grows  very  lux- 
uriantly at  the  mouth  of  a  well  near  Newford  Orchard,  on  St.  Mary's.  I 
have  gathered  a  frond,  this  month  (September),  twenty-three  inches  in  length, 
and  several  more  somewhat  shorter.  It  is  also,  I  am  nearly  certain,  found 
on  Tresco. 


Extracted  from  a  Paper  read  before  the  Royal  Geological 
Society  of  Cornwall  in  September,  1850. 

THE  whole  of  the  islands  are  composed  of  granite,  and  as 
there  are  no  excavations  worthy  of  the  name  of  quarries, 
these  remarks  will  apply  to  the  granite  only  as  it  is  seen  on 
the  surface. 

It  has  been  generally  supposed  that  the  granite  of  Scilly  is 
a  continuation  of  that  of  the  Land's-end,  but  as  in  dredging 
between  the  islands  and  the  main  land,  sea-weed  is  often 
brought  up  attached  to  bits  of  slate  or  greenstone ;  and  as  the 
Woolf  rock,  which  lies  not  far  southward  of  a  line  from  the 
Land's-end  to  Scilly,  is  not  granite  but  greenstone,  there  is 
reason  to  believe  that  a  tract  of  slate  or  greenstone  occurs 
between  the  Land's-end  and  the  islands,  and  that  the  granite 
of  the  latter  is  a  separate  and  distinct  range. 

The  inclination  or  strike  of  the  granite  of  Scilly  is,  with 
few  exceptions,  towr.rds  the  N.  or  N.  N.  W.  This  is  evident 
in  many  parts  of  St.  Mary's,  at  New  Grimsby  in  Tresco, 
and  particularly  on  the  northern  coast  of  St.  Agnes  and 

188  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

Annet,    and   in   most   of   the    islands   and   reefs    west  of 
St.  Agnes. 

In  the  few  remarks  which  I  can  offer  on  this  subject,  I 
shall  refer  to 

I.     The  Jointed  structure  of  the  granite. 

It  is  impossible  to  view  the  granite  of  the  islands  without 
being  struck  with  its  intersection  by  lines — often  very  minute — 
in  different  directions  :  these  are  joints,  and  are  easily  mis- 
taken for  cracks.  Whether  they  are  the  result  of  the 
contraction  of  the  granite  in  cooling,  or  owe  their  existence 
to  certain  laws  of  crystallization,  is  not  easy  to  decide. 
They  are,  however,  more  numerous  at  the  surface  than  in 
deeper  parts,  and  wherever  they  appear,  although  they  may 
be  less  apparent  in  one  part  of  a  block  than  in  another, 
they  can  generally  be  traced  throughout  the  whole. 

The  direction  of  the  joints  appears  so  various  and  irregular, 
and  many  of  them  are  so  crossed  and  curved,  that  on  a 
cursory  view,  it  might  be  deemed  impossible  to  reduce  them 
to  any  general  system ;  but  a  closer  inspection  will  shew  that 
(as  in  most  granite  districts)  they  may  be  divided  into  three 
series:  1.  those  which  are  horizontal,  or  nearly  so,  and 
parallel  with  what  is  called  the  grain  of  the  rock,  or 
the  direction  in  which  it  may  be  most  easily  quarried. 
In  this  direction  the  granite  of  the  islands  is  generally 
cloven,  and  the  work  is  called  "capping  and  quartering." 
2.  The  vertical  or  perpendicular  joints  whose  direction  is 
generally  N.  and  S.  or  perhaps  N.  N.  W.  and  S.  S.  E. 
These,  which  are  often  inclined,  may  be  called  the  cleavage 
planes,  because,  in  most  granite  districts,  the  rocks  are 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  189 

cloven  in  this  direction,  it  being  found  in  practice  the  most 
convenient  and  economical.  3.  The  vertical  joints  having  a 
direction  varying  from  E.  and  W.  to  E.  N.  E.  and  W.  S.  W. 
These  are  generally  inclined  to  the  N.  or  N.  N.  W.  parallel 
with  the  general  dip  or  strike  of  the  granite.  When  the 
rock  is  thickly  jointed,  the  inclined  masses  seem  to  repose 
on  each  other  like  strata  of  slate,  as  on  the  western  side  of 
Peninnis  Head :  at  Watermill  Bay,  the  joints  are  so  close 
to  each  other,  and  so  highly  inclined,  as  to  give  to  the 
whole  mass  the  appearance  of  stratified  granite. 
II.  The  Disintegration  and  Decomposition  of  the  granite.1 
There  is  little  doubt  that  wherever  joints  occur,  there  is 
the  commencement  of  decomposition,  but,  according  to  the 
quality  of  rock,  it  may  be  rapid,  or  very  slow :  generally,  by 
the  action  of  the  elements,  the  lines  gradually  become 
fissures,  which,  more  or  less  rapidly,  make  their  way  into 
the  rock,  and  often  cause  an  entire  separation. 

1.  If  the  vertical  and  horizontal  joints  cross  each  other 
nearly  at  right  angles,  the  rocks  will  appear  to  be  divided  into 
irregular  quadrangular  masses  (as  in  the  western  groups  at 
Peninnis) :  as  decomposition  proceeds,  these  will  be  gradually, 
and  at  length  entirely,  separated  from  the  main  body,  and 
rounded  at  their  edges  and  angles  by  the  influence  of  the 
elements :  if  they  are  not  much  inclined,  they  may  continue 
in  their  original  position;  but  if  otherwise,  they  will  fall 
from  the  mass,  and  either  remain  in  heaps  near  the  foot,  or 

l  It  is  often  difficult  to  decide  whether  the  effects  are  those  of  decomposi- 
tion or  of  mere  disintegration.  With  respect  to  the  joints,  it  is  possible  that 
both  may  be  in  operation,  but  the  rounding  of  the  sharp  points  of  the  rocks, 
and  the  formation  of  the  rock  basins,  have  probably  been  effected  by  disinte- 

190  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

be  rolled  to  a  considerable  distance. l  Some  may  continue  in 
detached  perpendicular  groups  forming  what  are  called  Tors, 
(as  at  Cam  Leh,  Dick's  Carn,  $fc.) ;  and  rounded  insula- 
ted rocks  may  be  so  placed  on  other  rocks  as  to  form  what 
Dr.  Borlase  calls  Tolmens  (as  the  Drum  rock,  and  a  similar 
rock  at  the  head  of  Old  Townporth).  2.  When  decomposition 
proceeds  rapidly  on  the  perpendicular  joints,  and  has  little 
effect  on  the  horizontal  ones,  the  rocks  acquire  a  columnar  form 
resembling  basaltic  pillars,  the  horizontal  joints  answering 
to  the  joints  of  basalt.2  3.  If  the  perpendicular  joints  are  very 
thickly  inserted  in  the  granite,  with  scarcely  any  horizontal 
joints,  the  whole  mass,  as  the  joints  yield  to  decomposition, 
appears  divided  into  large  slabs  standing  upright;  some 
entirely  separate,  whilst  others  are  still  united  at  the  centre : 
one  of  the  best  instances  of  this  may  be  seen  at  Peninnis 
Head.  4.  The  decomposition  at  the  horizontal  joints,  where 
there  are  few  vertical  ones,  produces  groups  of  flat  tabular 
masses  or  slabs,  of  which  the  upper  ones  frequently  protrude 
far  beyond  those  on  which  they  stand.  The  Pulpit  rock  is  a 
fine  specimen  of  horizontal  decomposition ;  others  may  be 
seen  at  the  Blue  earn,  the  Clapper  rocks,  and  in  many  other 
parts.  It  is  possible  that  the  Logan  stones  may  have  been 
formed  by  similar  decomposition. 

A   more   interesting   effect   of  decomposition,  or   rather 

1  It  is  almost  impossible  to  observe  the  piles  of  loose  rocks — many  of  them 
of  immense  size, — resting  on  the  rocky  beach  between  Tolmen  Point  and 
the  Giant's  Castle,  without  the  conviction  that  they  must  have  fallen  from 
a  higher  situation. 

2  This  is  finely  exhibited  in  the  rocks  at,  and  south  of,  the  Land's-end  of 
Cornwall,  especially  at  Tol  Pedn  Penwith. 

ISLES    OP    SCILLY.  191 

disintegration,  appears  in  the  Rock  Basins.  They  are 
rarely  seen  on  the  rocks  covered  by  the  sea  at  high  water, 
but  otherwise  they  are  so  general  that  the  rocks  on  whose 
surface  they  do  not  appear,  form  the  exception.  As  they 
have  been  so  particularly  alluded  to  in  this  volume,  nothing 
further  need  be  said  in  the  way  of  description.  That  they 
are  artificial,  as  Dr.  Borlase  contends,  is  a  doctrine  now 
generally  rejected ;  but  a  few  of  the  facts  which  oppose  it 
may  be  worthy  of  notice :  some  of  these  existed  when  Dr. 
Borlase  wrote,  and  time  has  since  furnished  others.  1 .  They 
are  deepest  and  most  common  where  the  rocks  are  most 
exposed  to  the  prevailing  winds  and  the  spray  of  the  sea. 
In  St.  Mary's  they  abound  on  that  part  which  extends  from 
the  S.  W.  to  the  S.  E.  but  are  few  and  shallow  in  the  other 
parts  of  the  island.  2.  Some  of  them  appear  in  the  sides 
of  the  rocks,  just  as  if,  after  they  had  been  formed  on  the  top, 
the  rocks  had  been  overturned :  they  may  be  thus  seen  near 
Pitt's  parlour  at  Peninnis,  and  also  at  the  Clapper  rock. 
3.  In  some  cases,  when  one  rock  is  overlaid  by  another, 
basins  are  formed  on  the  lower  rock :  this  occurs  at  the 
Clapper  rock,  and  also  near  the  Sun  rock,  but  the  best 
instance  may  be  seen  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  north  of 
the  Sun  rock,  where  a  large  block  of  granite  rests  on 
another  block  imbedded  in  the  ground,  the  space  between 
the  two  rocks  being  only  a  few  inches :  on  the  surface 
of  the  lower  rock  are  three  regular  basins,  which  could 
not  have  been  worked  out  by  tools :  the  top  of  the  upper 
rock  has  also  several  basins.  4.  The  disintegration  in  the 
basins  is  still  proceeding:  loose  particles  of  quartz  and 

192  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

felspar  are  commonly  found  in  them,  and  in  several,  there  are 
openings  in  the  sides  or  at  the  bottom,  some  of  which  have 
taken  place  within  the  recollection  of  persons  now  living. 
5.  On  the  rising  ground  above  Porth  Loggos,  there  is  an 
immense  flat  rock,  nearly  level  with  the  ground,  said  to  be 
173  feet  long,  and  138  feet  wide,  of  which  Dr.  Borlase  says 
"  We  found  the  back  of  the  rock  cleaved  by  art  (at  least  as  it 
seemed  to  us)  of  all  unevenness,  and  making  one  plane  of 
rock."  This  was  written  about  one  hundred  years  ago :  its 
surface  is  now  covered  with  small  basins,  drains,  and  shallow 

It  is  not  impossible  that  the  rock  basins,  as  well  as  the 
Logan  stones  and  other  natural  monuments,  might  have 
been  used  by  the  Druids  for  superstitious  purposes,  but 
the  facts  already  stated  are  sufficient  to  prove  that  they 
have  not  been  formed  by  art,  but  by  disintegration,  caused 
by  the  alternate  action  of  the  elements  on  rocks  peculiarly 
favorable  to  their  operation,  either  from  a  mixture  of  iron  or 
some  other  extraneous  substance  in  their  composition,  or 
from  the  peculiar  arrangement  of  the  crystals  of  the  different 
constituent  parts. 

In  those  parts  of  the  coast  which  are  exposed  to  the 
prevailing  winds  and  the  lash  of  the  waves,  the  rocks  are 
weathered  into  the  most  singular  and  fantastic  forms,  as  at 
Peninnis  and  the  Clapper  rocks  in  St.  Mary's,  the  Nag's 
head  in  St.  Agnes,  &c.  In  the  latter  island  some  of  the 
rocks  resemble  gigantic  petrified  mushrooms.  Decomposition 
is  also  often  visible  on  the  flat  surface  of  the  rocks,  as  at 
the  Lizard  point  in  Tresco.  The  existence  of  white  clay  in 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  193 

Holy  Vale  moor,  and  in  the  moors  between  Porth  Mellin 

and  Old  Town,  is  also  an  indication  of  it  below  the  surface. 

III.     Regenerated  or  Secondary  Granite. 

There  are  many  instances  in  the  islands  in  which,  at  first 
sight,  it  appears  doubtful  whether  the  granite  is  in  the  pro- 
cess of  disintegration,  or  whether  the  constituent  parts  which 
had  been  previously  separated  by  disintegration,  have  become 
re-united  (by  what  agency  it  is  difficult  to  say)  before  they 
were  completely  decomposed.  This  kind  may  be  found  on 
Rat  island,  and  at  Piper  s  hole  in  St.  Mary's ;  at  Piper's 
hole  in  Tresco;  and  in  numerous  other  localities.  The 
principal  reason  for  supposing  it  to  be  regenerated  granite  is 
that,  in  both  the  caverns  alluded  to,  of  which  it  forms  the 
whole  or  the  principal  part  of  the  roof,  it  contains  bowlders 
or  rounded  masses  of  perfect  granite, — some  of  them  pretty 
large :  it  is  not  easy  to  suppose  that  these  could  have  been 
enclosed  in  original  granite. 

Unless  these  bowlders  may  be  supposed  to  be  the  remains 
of  ancient  beaches,  I  have  not  observed  on  the  islands  any 
of  those  remains :  it  is  not  improbable  however  that  they 
may  be  visible  in  the  roofs  of  other  caverns  which  I  have 
not  examined. 

IV.     Varieties  of  Granite. 

The  granite  of  Scilly  is  not  always  confined  to  the  usual 
constituent  parts  of  quartz,  felspar,  and  mica :  shorl  is  a 
very  common  ingredient,  sometimes  accompanying  the  mica 
( Lizard  point,  Tresco),  and  sometimes  replacing  it  (Old 
Town  porth) :  hornblende  is  a  more  rare  one  ( Old  Town 
porth),  and  chlorite  still  rarer.  In  some  parts  it  is  porphyritic 

c  c 

194  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

(Watermill  bay)  ;  but  in  general  that  term  is  not  applicable 
to  it :  the  felspar  is  sometimes  of  a  deep  red  colour  ( Old 
Town  porth, — Porth  Munich, —  The  Cow  rock).  In  one 
locality  ( Lizard  point,  Tresco)  the  mica  of  the  granite  is  in 
its  primitive  crystal,  a  solid  rhomboid  being  formed  by  the 
accumulation  of  rhomboidal  tables  :  in  other  parts  the  mica 
is  in  hexagonal  tables,  often  forming  prisms  by  their  accu- 
mulation (Peninnis) :  on  Taylor's  island,  the  mica  is  replaced 
by  minute  prisms  of  tourmaline,  often  with  a  perfect  termi- 
nation. Binary  granite,  composed  of  only  two  of  the  usual 
ingredients,  occurs  at  Porth  Hellick,  both  as  quartz  and 
felspar,  and  as  quartz  and  mica. 

The  granite  of  Scilly  is,  in  general,  of  a  rather  coarse 
quality,  and  from  its  colour,  iron  appears  to  be  frequently 
associated  with  it.  No  doubt  there  is  excellent  granite  in 
several  of  the  islands,  but  it  is  often  so  mixed  up  with  what 
is  inferior,  that  there  is  little  hope  of  its  being  extensively 
quarried  for  exportation :  it  is  possible  however,  that  the 
compact  granite  may  run  in  courses  or  ranges  through  the 
coarser  or  softer  kinds :  this  might  be  discovered  without 
much  difficulty  by  following  it  so  far  as  to  ascertain  its 
direction,  and  examining  the  granite  in  different  parts  in 
that  direction.  There  is  very  compact  granite  at  Peninnis, 
but  close  to  it  there  is  some  of  a  very  different  kind. 
The  best,  I  think,  may  be  found  in  some  of  the  western 
islets,  particularly  in  Rosevear,  of  which  a  specimen  may 
be  seen  in  the  habitations  of  the  St.  Agnes  light-house  men : 
that  of  the  Bishop, — the  most  western  rock  of  the  whole 
group, — is  also  very  compact,  although  a  little  discoloured. 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  195 

V.     Veins  in  the  Granite. 

These  are  of  various  kinds.  Sir  H.  De  la  Beche  has 
remarked  that  granite  veins  in  the  granite  are  not  unfrequent 
in  St.  Mary's,  St.  Martin's,  Tresco,  Brehar,  and  St.  Agnes: 
some  of  these,  however,  owe  their  vein-like  appearance  to  an 
accumulation  of  parallel  joints,  and  the  decomposition  of 
the  granite  on  each  side  of  them.  The  granite  of  the  veins 
is  almost  always  much  finer  than  that  of  the  mass.  The  red 
granite  is  generally  found  in  veins  (Old  Town  and  Brehar). 
I  believe  them  to  be  all  contemporaneous  or  as  nearly  so  as 

Veins  of  pure  white  quartz, — sometimes  of  a  considerable 
size. — often  intersect  the  granite  :  in  one  of  these,  at  Penin- 
nis  head,  I  found  a  small  bunch  of  rose-coloured  quartz  : 
in  another  vein  between  St.  Mary's  pier  and  Rat  island, 
(now  covered  by  the  new  pier)  chalcedony  has  been  found. 

At  Water  mill  bay,  in  St.  Mary's,  the  pebbles  on  the  beach 
indicate  the  contiguity  of  porphyry  and  porphyritic  granite, 
and  on  the  south  side  of  it,  between  the  rivulet  and  the 
curious  little  quay  called  Newquay,  there  is  what  has  been 
called  by  some  an  elvan  course,  and  by  others  a  mass  of 
decidedly  stratified  granite :  it  is  of  considerable  length : 
it  rises  above  the  granite  that  joins  it  on  each  side,  and 
seems  to  lie  in  thick  strata,  which  are  subdivided  into 
smaller  strata,  dipping  at  a  large  angle  about  N.  N.  W. :  it 
is  decided  porphyry  with  small  crystals  of  quartz  and 
felspar :  the  adjoining  granite  has  also  the  same  stratified 
appearance.  The  question  is,  whether  the  lines  of  division 
of  the  apparent  strata  are  joints,  or  whether  the  whole  hits 

196  A    WEEK    IN    THE 

a  slaty  structure :  the  former  appears  to  me  the  most 
probable.  This  spot  must  be  visited  at  low-water,  or  the 
most  interesting  part  will  be  covered  by  the  sea. 

Of  metalliferous  veins  or  lodes,  there  are  some  in  three 
or  four  of  the  islands,  but  none  which  any  competent  miner 
would  suppose  had  ever  yielded  any  considerable  quantity 
of  tin.  Several  years  ago,  in  digging  for  a  foundation 
for  the  store-keeper's  house  within  the  lines  of  the 
Garrison  hill,  a  lode  was  discovered  which  produced  some 
tin  very  near  the  surface,  but  the  quantity,  and  the  lode 
itself,  being  very  small,  it  attracted  no  further  attention. 
In  the  small  uninhabited  island  of  Norwethel,  some  lodes 
are  visible  in  the  cliffs,  and  efforts  have  been  frequently 
made  to  explore  them,  but  unsuccessfully.  In  Tresco  there  are 
some  lodes,  on  one  of  which  near  Piper's  hole  are  the  only 
remains  of  former  works  now  existing  in  any  of  the  islands : 
these,  however,  give  no  indication  of  extensive  or  important 
operations.  Piper's  hole  has  been  called  an  adit  for  draining 
the  mines,  but  it  is  far  too  irregular  to  admit  such  a  suppo- 
sition. Piper's  hole  in  St.  Mary's  is  more  regular,  and  may 
possibly  have  been  used  for  that  purpose. 

As  so  much  has  been  already  said  and  written  on  the 
question  whether  the  tin  of  ancient  times  was  the  product  of 
the  Scilly  islands,  I  will  add  only  two  remarks  to  those 
which  I  have  elsewhere  made  on  that  subject.  1.  Dr. 
Borlase  supposes  that  a  great  subsidence  of  the  land  has 
taken  place,  by  which  almost  all  the  marks  and  relicts  of 
ancient  mining  have  been  submerged ;  but  this  is  not  only 
gratuitous,  but  inconsistent  with  another  conjecture  of  his, — 

ISLES    OF    SCILLY.  197 

that  Piper  s  hole  in  Tresco  was  the  adit  of  the  ancient  tin- 
work  there :  if  it  were  so,  it  is  evident  that  no  subsidence 
of  the  land  can  have  taken  place  since.  2.  There  are  two 
tracts  of  low  land  in  St.  Mary's ;  one  extending  from  Porth 
Mellin  to  Old  Town ;  the  other,  from  Holy  Vale  to  Porth 
Hellich.  In  Tresco  also  there  is  a  low  tract  from  New 
Grimsby,  by  the  Abbey  ponds,  to  the  south-east  side  of  the 
island.  Now  if  any  mines  here  had  ever  been  productive 
of  tin,  some  traces  of  diluvial  tin  would,  even  in  modern 
days,  be  found  in  these  low  grounds  j  but  in  neither  of  them 
has  any  tin-ore  ever  been  discovered,  as  far  as  can  be  known 
from  the  testimony  of  the  living,  or  the  records  of  the  past ; 
neither  has  any  tin-ore  ever  been  found  pulverized  amongst 
the  sands  of  the  sea  shore,  as  it  frequently  is  in  the  mining 
parts  of  Cornwall  which  border  on  the  sea ;  I  see  no  reason 
therefore  to  alter  the  opinion  expressed  elsewhere,1  that  the 
tin  of  the  Cassiterides  could  not  have  been  the  product  of 
the  Scilly  islands,  but  was  probably  that  of  the  nearest 
land — St.  Just,  which  being  visible  from  Scilly,  might  easily 
have  been  taken  for  a  large  island,  and  included  in  the 
group  to  which  was  given  the  name  of  the  Cassiterides. 

VI.     The  Sands  of  the  Islands. 

These  are  more  diversified  than  might  be  expected  in 
such  a  small  tract.  Those  which  are  found  on  the  southern 
coasts  are  generally  coarse  and  gravelly,  as  at  Porth  Hellick, 
Old  town  porth,  and  Porth  Cressa,  whilst  those  on  the 
northern  shores  are  usually  very  fine,  as  at  Porth  Mellin 
and  the  Pool.  The  sand  of  Porth  Mellin  is  the  most  inter- 

1  Cornwall  Gc-ol.  Trans.  Vol.  2,  page  357. 

198  A   WEEK    IN    THE 

esting  of  the  whole :  here,  at  low-water,  on  the  surface  of 
the  beach,  which  is  composed  of  almost  impalpable  particles 
of  quartz, — so  fine  as  to  be  generally  used  for  scouring 
household  utensils, — may  be  seen  ridges  of  black  mica: 
they  are  not  always  in  the  same  situation,  but  are  moved 
about  by  the  tide :  there  is  very  little  mica,  and  that  in  the 
minutest  particles,  below  the  surface  of  the  sand.  The 
granite  of  Cam  Thomas,  which  adjoins  this  porth  on  the 
west,  contains  black  mica,  and  at  the  foot  of  the  corn  the 
granite  appears  to  be  decomposing :  this  however  will  not 
account  for  so  much  being  found  on  the  beach  at  Porth 
Mellin,  while  in  many  other  coves,  where  the  granite  around 
them  is  similarly  composed,  scarcely  any  mica  can  be  seen 
on  the  sands  :  it  is  difficult  to  conjecture  how,  after  the  dis- 
solution of  the  felspar  and  the  minute  reduction  of  the 
quartz,  the  mica  should  have  remained,  in  larger  particles, 
on  the  surface  :  is  it  possible  that  a  gentle  current  may  con- 
vey it  there  from  some  other  part  ?  Eastward,  the  sand  of 
the  Bar  is  quartzose,  but  less  fine,  with  a  very  small 
admixture  of  shell :  in  the  sand  of  Pellestry  bay  alone  is 
there  a  mixture  of  comminuted  shells  sufficient  to  make  it 
very  useful  for  manure :  other  sands  are  frequently  used  for 
that  purpose,  but  their  principal  virtue  is  probably  that  of 
loosening  close  or  clayey  soils. 

On  the  southern  side  of  Tresco,  the  sand  consists  almost 
entirely  of  large  particles  of  pure  white  quartz,  which  might 
probably  be  used  in  the  manufacture  of  porcelain,  instead  of 
pounded  flint ;  but  I  am  not  aware  that  it  has  ever  been  tried. 

It  will  be  observed  that  in  this  communication  I  have 

ISLEft    OF    SCILLY.  199 

said  nothing  of  St.  Martin's  island,  or  of  the  eastern  islands, 
and  little  of  Brehar,  or  Samson.  In  truth  I  had  not  suffi- 
cient time  to  examine  them :  they  must  be  left  for  another 
"  week's  visit  to  the  islands." 


Page  20.  line  1,  for  'erected'  read  'enriched' 

—  65.  for  '  Pernagic'  read  '  Pernagie' 

—  73.  Hue  20,  for  '  Crasou'  read  '  Crassou' 

—  92.  line  13,  for  '  Ministers'  read  '  Musters' 

—  129.  line  13,  for  ' statutes'  read  'statues' 

—  131.  Note,     for  '  Woodley'  read  '  Borlase' 

—  154.  line  6,  for  '  subulated'  read  'sabulated' 

—  155.  line  12,  for  '  anglorra '  read  'anglorum* 















A     000104621     8